Zimbabwe plans 'Disneyland' for Africa

Zimbabwe's Tourism Minister Walter Mzembi had announced that they have major plans to build a theme park near Victoria Falls to boost tourism.

According to BBC reports, the Zimbabwe government would spend more than $300m (R31billion) on the theme park, to rebuild its tourism industry after a decade of conflict and hyperinflation.

Zimbabwe is not leveraging the Victoria Falls enough, Mr Mzembi told the BBC on Tuesday, describing it as a "sleeping giant".

"It's a wake-up call for us...we must build a new tourism facility with an impact," he said.

"We think it should be modelled along the size and the kind of vision that is on Disneyland, including hotels, entertainment parks, restaurants, conferencing facilities. This is the vision and we need people who can run with it."

However, the idea was met with scepticism from Africa tourism experts specialists according to The Telegraph

“Zimbabwe is a country that often struggles to do the basic things it needs to do and this cannot be a sensible suggestion,” said Chris McIntyre, managing director of Expert Africa, a UK-based specialist tour operator.

“People go to Zimbabwe because it actually offers something that is authentically African: they are not going to want to go there for a Mickey Mouse experience. It would be completely inappropriate."

The government already has plans to expand the Victoria Falls airport, saying it will invest about $150m in the project.

In the first quarter of this year, Zimbabwe's tourism authority said the country registered a 17% increase in visitors.

If the country remains stable, it says, tourism is set to contribute 15% to the country's GDP.

Over the past decade, Zimbabwe recorded the world's highest inflation with its economy in virtual collapse. However, a power-sharing deal reached after an acrimonious election in 2008 helped to stabilise the economy.

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