The senior communications manager at the Development Bank of Namibia (DBN), Jerome Mutumba, has been seconded to the Zambezi Waterfront and Tourism Park (ZWFTP) in Katima Mulilo to assist the board to formulate, design and implement a new business model that should help sustain the state-owned tourism enterprise.
Mutumba’s secondment was approved by the DBN board on request of the board of the ZWFTP and the Ministry of Environment and Tourism.
Talking about the waterfront, Mutumba, a seasoned business strategist and marketer, says the Zambezi waterfront is an investment in tourism that will bear fruits provided that it is managed strategically and efficiently.
He says the waterfront is a vital element for tourism in Zambezi Region, as well as in the broader tourism nexus of Victoria Falls on the Zambia and Zimbabwe sides, and the Zambezi Delta, stretching into Botswana.
The Zambezi waterfront, he says, is intended to stimulate economic activities in the region, which are premised on the forward and backward linkages of tourism’s multiplier effect.
The waterfront company holds great potential to create more sustainable jobs and boost trade activities in the region.
Mutumba says the envisaged model could expand beyond the current scope of waterfront activities. The entity lies on 39 ha of prime land on the banks of the Zambezi. He believes that there is a need to enhance business activities at the waterfront and also change the current landscape of the town of Katima Mulilo.
It is essential to make the town a highly sought after holiday destination.
This, Mutumba argues, could position the waterfront as a one-stop centre for mix use, leisure, holiday accommodation, business and other socio-economic activities for the public good.
Talking about the Victoria Falls link, Mutumba says the waterfront provides bed nights to travellers arriving and departing to and from Victoria Falls. He says the same is true for the Zambezi Delta, and Botswana.
He points out that in the SADC regional context, the Zambezi Region forms part of a circuit. Tourists should not be expected just to drive on the same route, but should develop a circular route incorporating attractions in other countries.
By doing that tourism to the Zambezi Region would be enhanced, and the viability of cross-border tourism, in line with the initiative to improve tourism across several countries, particularly Namibia, Zimbabwe and Zambia, would be strengthened as well.
On the topic of the current closure of the entity, Mutumba says the halt to operations is temporary.
The government, he says, has made a substantial investment in the enterprise, and expects it to become sustainable for the benefit of the tourism industry, as well as to contribute to regional economic development.
He says the rationale for the closure is to provide a pause to examine how the waterfront can be better managed, and what business model could better satisfy the requirements of international and local tourism.