The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism and Hospitality Industry, Dr Sylvester Maunganidze says the Victoria falls as a premier brand should be protected as any standoff by government departments over management of the natural wonder will affect the countryâ€™s tourismÂ sector.
Speaking on the impact of the just resolved stand off between the National Museums and Monuments and the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority, Dr Maunganidze said the Victoria falls is categorised as one of the 7 wonders of the world and has the ability to heavily affect the tourism industry if it is not handled properly.
He said at a time when the country has launched a blitz to market the tourism brand, his ministry has been receiving a number of enquiries and queries as to why the Victoria falls had become a security area, adding that it is time the country fully utilises its vast natural endowment for economic growth especially tourism.
Dr Maunganidze said from a tourism point of view, the building of the pole and thatch restaurantÂ at the gate to the Victoria fallsÂ is ideal as before requests had been put forward by tourists that they need a resting place near the waterfall.
In a government communiquÃ©, a copy of which was availed to ZBC News, the Deputy Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet,Â Dr Ray Ndhlukula advised of governmentâ€™s decision of giving back the management of the Victoria Falls to the Parks and Wildlife Management Authority until any recommended changes are approved by cabinet.
In an interview Parks and wildlife Management Authority spokesperson, Ms Caroline Washaya Moyo said her authority goes by the cabinet decision.
Acting Deputy Executive Director of the National Museums and Monuments, Mr Darlington Munyikwa said they will comply with the cabinet directive.Â
He proposed a handover takeover process to be completed this Friday the 12 of November to avoid inconveniences to tourists and clients.Â Â Â
The stand off between the two government departments began last Saturday when the National Museums and Monuments seized control of the Victoria falls citingÂ that a pole and thatch restaurant constructed near the waterfall was against international regulations governing the management of national heritage sites.
However, analysts feel the real motive was the control of the Victoria Falls monument which earns an average of US$7 000 a day in gate takings.