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By Abigail Mawonde
The Zimbabwe National Parks and Wildlife Authority is auctioning various tourist attraction centres as it does not have resources to develop them, The Herald has learnt. The sites are dotted around the country and are commonly referred to as photographic sites. Zimparks acting spokesperson Mr Simukai Nyasha said in an interview yesterday that the auction was set for Harare.
Desired Liaison Auctioneers was hired to conduct the auction.
Mr Nyasha said the move was meant to develop the sites and counter competition from other players.
“The Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority manages land reserved under the Parks and Wildlife Management Act (Chapter 20:14),” he said.
“The land managed by Zimparks is a major tourism and recreation draw card, receiving both domestic, regional and international visitors.
“Visitors to areas managed by Zimparks are increasingly seeking a broader range of experiences supported by new services, facilities and infrastructure.”
Mr Nyasha said the parks authority was committed to increasing visitors to its sites through offering unique and quality experiences.
Mr Nyasha said the sites were put to tender as a way of ensuring transparency and equal participation by all interested parties.
The photographic sites are located in Hwange, Victoria Falls, Kariba, Kyle and Umzingwane.
Mr Nyasha said foreign investors could also tender for the photographic sites, but had to comply with the laws of the country regulating investment from foreigners.
“Zimparks seeks to unlock commercial value of land and obtain an appropriate financial return within the parks estate by allowing investors to develop land for non-consumptive tourism purposes,” he said.
“This is one of the innovative ways for Zimparks and the private sector to work together.”
Mr Nyasha said the photographic leases were subject to renewal after every five years to a maximum period of 25 years.
Also on offer were self-catering lodges at Robins and Sinamatella camps in Hwange.
“There are a number of individuals and organisations that are willing and have approached the authority for partnership arrangements in operating our accommodation infrastructure,” said Mr Nyasha. “Since the authority has no financial resources to renovate and develop its lodges, it is only prudent to consider getting into partnerships and have our facilities developed to match the standards of our competitors or better.
“The partnership arrangement will be on a build, operate and transfer basis.”