VICTORIA FALLS will be a cyber city by the time Zimbabwe co-hosts the United Nations World Tourism Organisation General Assembly with Zambia in August, Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister Walter Mzembi has said. Minister Mzembi made the remarks in Harare
on Friday last week at an event where his ministry received communication equipment from mobile phone operator Econet Wireless for its UNWTO General Assembly command centre in Harare.
Econet Wireless will invest significantly in communication equipment and infrastructure to be used for the purposes of the UNWTO General Assembly after agreeing to become the ministry’s official communication partner for the mega tourism event.
Econet Wireless will set up another communication command centre in Victoria Falls and further invest in state-of-the-art technology for flawless communication during and after the event scheduled for Victoria Falls and Livingstone.
“Victoria Falls will be a cyber city by the time we commence the proceedings of the UNWTO General Assembly on August 24 (2013). That is a condition that we must answer to the general assembly secretariat (that we can give security and comfort to delegates visiting Zimbabwe for the UNWTO General Assembly,” Minister Mzembi said.
The co-hosting of the event by Zimbabwe and Zambia will mark the second time that the event has been held on African soil after Senegal in 2005.
The tourism minister said Zimbabwe would ensure visitors can immediately be able to connect with family friends and the rest of the world once they enter the country without facing any challenges.
He has often emphasised the need to ensure a flawless and glamorous UNWTO event that the post-election Government, after elections scheduled for July 31 2013, can use to rebrand the country.
In this regard Econet Wireless chief marketing officer Mr Isaiah Nyangari, standing in for group chief executive Mr Douglas Mboweni, said Econet had invested in 15 additional major base stations in Victoria Falls to improve connectivity in the city.
The country’s biggest mobile phone operator will also install micro-base stations in hotels in the resort and also provide the latest hand-held communication gadgets such as iPhones and iPads.
Mr Nyangari also said they fast tracked installation of Econet’s fibre network cables from Bulawayo for connection to the Victoria Falls communication command centre while in Harare the company has expedited connection of the command centre to its Willowvale optic fibre network.
“We are also going to put the latest technology in terms of our data service (LTE),” Mr Nyangari said.
He said the LTE technology was one of the most advanced technologies for even faster data transmission. We are also going to increase the capacity of our base stations to make sure that no call is dropped,” he said. He said Econet had also upgraded its base stations at the Victoria Falls International Airport ahead of the event.
The infrastructure that the company would have put in place would continue to be used well after the tourism event and these include the glass and aluminium conferencing centre that Government is building at the Elephant Hills Hotel.
Minister Mzembi said Zimbabwae and Zambia had agreed to make sure the UNWTO General Assembly event will be held in a uniquely African way.-Herald