Leading Zimbabwean hospitality group Africa Albida Tourism welcomes the commissioning of the new $150 million Victoria Falls International Airport, which is set to usher in a new era of tourism to the region.
The airport, which now has the capacity to handle 1.5 million passengers per annum, tripling its previous volume, and is capable of landing some of the world’s largest aircraft, will be officially opened on Friday November 18 by His Excellency, President Robert Mugabe.
Africa Albida Tourism (AAT) chief executive Ross Kennedy said: “The positive impact of the new Victoria Falls International Airport will be very significant and should take the destination and region to a new level in terms of arrivals.
“The socio-economic benefits will be widespread as increased and new access drives the tourism sector’s growth with arrivals from additional source markets,” Mr Kennedy said. Interest in the new Victoria Falls International Airport at the World Travel Market, a major global travel trade show, held in London last week, was high, Mr Kennedy said.
“I met with many tour operators, media and airlines at the show, and I can confirm that the interest is very high and that the travel industry is excited by the opening of the new Victoria Falls International Airport.
“Zimbabwe remains a “hot destination ” on the schedules of many tour operators across the globe,” Mr Kennedy said.
Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe PR & Communications Manager Annajulia Hungwe said the new airport could accommodate over three times as many passengers, and it had also been built so that it could be expanded to accommodate rising tourist numbers if necessary.
The development in Zimbabwe’s leading resort town, which included the construction of a new international terminal building and the rehabilitation of the existing one into a domestic terminal, has been fully operational since September.
The airport features a 4km runway, a state of the art control tower, which is one of the most advanced in Africa, and a fire station, equipped to respond to fire and medical emergencies.
Facilities at the international terminal include 14 check-in counters, 9 boarding gates, three baggage carousels, a dozen shops, two restaurants, 28 aircraft parking bays and parking facilities for 400 vehicles.
The domestic terminal features six check-in counters, two passenger security screening facilities, one restaurant and three coffee shops, eight other shops and a business class lounge.
The airport, funded by a China Exim Bank loan to the Zimbabwean Government, was constructed by China Jiangsu International Group.
AAT operates a portfolio of properties in Victoria Falls, including Victoria Falls Safari Lodge, Victoria Falls Safari Club, Victoria Falls Safari Suites and The Boma – Dinner & Drum Show.