Work has begun on the expansion of Victoria Falls Airport in Zimbabwe by a Chinese construction group. China Jiangsu International have been brought in to construct a new 4km runway, build a 20,000 sq m international terminal building, upgrade the existing domestic terminal building, and construct a new fire station and control tower.
A groundbreaking ceremony was held on 12 April 2013 where prior to the official ‘dig and scoop’ ceremony, local chiefs hosted traditional ceremonies to ‘appease spirits of the area after previous attempts to expand the airport failed’ [The Herald Online].
It is hoped that the $150m expansion scheme funded by the Import and Export Bank of China will increase tourism in the area with passenger numbers estimated to triple from 500,000 per year to 1,500,000.
Vice President Joice Mujuru explains: “Victoria Falls is indeed a strategic tourist destination. That is why Government has taken this deliberate move to construct a longer runway and bigger terminal buildings that will allow wide-bodied aircraft to bring in more tourists.”