EASTERN NEWS | Mutare hails govt plans to construct airport

MUTARE - Hoteliers and industry leaders have welcomed government’s plans to construct an airport in Mutare, saying the move will integrate the eastern border town with the global economy.

Hospitality Association of Zimbabwe (Haz) vice president Clive Chinwada told Eastern News that the planned facility is a key driver of the travel and tourism industry.

“As the tourism and hospitality industry, and representing commerce in general, we welcome and eagerly await the roll out and execution around the construction of the Mutare airport,” he said in an exclusive interview with Eastern News.

“Air transport is a critical enabler for the travel and tourism industry as it makes it easy and convenient for people to travel for business and leisure,” said Chinwada, who is also Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce (ZNCC) Manicaland chairperson.

His comments are on the back of a recent pronouncement by Transport and Infrastructure Development minister Joram Gumbo that plans were underway to construct an airport in Mutare.

“The commitment by government...is welcome as the successful integration of Mutare into the global economy can very much be enhanced by the airport.

“Together with stakeholders, we have clamoured for consideration to be made to redevelop the Grand Reef and make it suitable for commercial flights,” Chinwada said.

Although Gumbo did not disclose the exact site for the airport, Chinwada  said it was unlikely that government would use Grand Reef airstrip.

The Haz vice president said they would welcome any other plan, which is not the upgrade of the Sakubva aerodrome, which he said was not ideal for a good visitor experience.

Sakubva is Mutare’s most densely-populated suburb.

If considered, the airstrip will only be capable of taking small planes that carry less than a hundred people.

Willard Madhombiro, a senior manager at Golden Peacock Villa Hotel said with improved accessibility, the region’s tourism would improve.

“Manicaland has world-class tourist attractions whose enjoyment by travellers was only being limited by poor access and if government gives it that atop the tourist economic zone status, then the local tourism industry would blossom,” he said.

“This comes as we have seen a drastic increase in tourist arrivals in Victoria Falls

“The Eastern Highlands will experience the same impact. As players we have been lobbying for that and the development comes as travel and tourism players are pushing for easier accessibility and connectivity to the eastern Highlands as an ideal tourist destination.”

“We want direct flights to Mutare. For tourists, it’s about time and budget that motivates them of which air travel is fast, reliable and cost effective.

“We will definitely see more tourists exploring the mystic Eastern Highlands as we have lots of scenic attractions for both domestic, regional and international tourists,” Madhombiro said.

Mutare is the only major town in Zimbabwe that currently does not have a functional airport.

Chinwada said an airport was the missing “ingredient” in bridging tourists to the Eastern Highlands.

“A tourist to Zimbabwe spends just about $400, according to the World Economic Forum.

“The same tourist spends $934 in South Africa due to an improved length in stay.”

“We believe that an airport should help tourists into the western part of the country also to enjoy the Eastern Highlands Experience,” he said.

Comments (2)

The hotels are overpriced. Some haven't had a facelift since the days of Rhodesia. Some are run by fools. Was in Vumba and was told no pork no beer because the owner (some dude named Zembe) is religious. In this day and age!!! You freakin don't assert your beliefs on a business. Wow. Only in Zanumabwe.

Moe Syslack - 11 January 2018

Kkkkkkkk about vumba owner zombe no pork and no beer. I am shy

Face - 12 January 2018

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