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Zimbabwe Plans $300M ‘Disneyland in Africa’

Zimbabwe’s tourism minister has announced a plan to build $300-million entertainment complex near Victoria Falls with shopping malls, convention  and banking centers, hotels and casinos.

According to the Guardian, Walter Mzembi, the tourism and hospitality minister, told New Ziana, the official news agency, that the government was planning a multimillion-dollar theme park near Victoria Falls, the country’s top tourist attraction.

Mzembi was quoted as saying the resort would be a “Disneyland in Africa.”

He outlined plans for shopping malls, banks, and exhibition and entertainment facilities such as casinos. “We have reserved 1,200 hectares of land closer to Victoria Falls International Airport to do hotels and convention centers,” Mzembi told New Ziana on the sidelines of the U.N. World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) general assembly, which Victoria Falls is co-hosting with the town of Livingstone in neighboring Zambia.

Mzembi said the project would cost about $300 million, according to the report.

“We want to create a free zone with a banking center where even people who do not necessarily live in Zimbabwe can open bank accounts,” he said.

Leveraging Victoria Falls

 New Ziana reports that Mzembi said Victoria Falls was not benefiting the country financially at present, as it was being used as a transit zone by tourists who flew in to visit and left without spending much money.

He said he hoped that the park would help ensure Victoria Falls attracts and retains capital in the country.

Mzembi said that the government is also planning to expand the town airport to provide easy access to larger aircraft.

Zimbabwe’s tourism sector earned  $300 million in revenue last year.

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