Mutumba to head Zambezi Waterfront
The defunct state-owned Zambezi Waterfront has requested the services of a PRO to try and revive the project. This week the Development Bank said the project was closed due to mismanagement.
Development Bank of Namibia (DBN) Senior Communications Manager Jerome Mutumba has been seconded to the Zambezi Waterfront and Tourism Park in Katima Mulilo to assist the Board to formulate, design and implement of a new business model that should help to sustain the state-owned tourism enterprise. His secondment was approved by the DBN board on request from the Zambezi Waterfront board and the Ministry of Environment and Tourism.
Talking about the Waterfront, Mutumba, a seasoned business strategist and marketer, said the Zambezi Waterfront is an investment in tourism that will bear fruits provided that it is managed strategically and efficiently. He said that the Waterfront is a vital element for tourism in the 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 said, 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 said the envisaged model could expand beyond the current scope of the Waterfront activities. The entity lies on 39 ha of prime land on the banks of the Zambezi. He believes that there is 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 of Katima Mulilo a highly sort 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 public good.
Talking about the Victoria Falls link, Mutumba said, the Waterfront provides bed nights to travellers arriving and departing to and from the Falls. He says the same is true of the Zambezi Delta, and Botswana.
He pointed out that in the SADC context, the Zambezi region forms part of a circuit. “Tourists should not be expected just to drive in and on the same route, but it should develop a circular route incorporating attractions in other countries. By doing that tourism to the region is enhanced, and the viability of cross-border tourism, in line with initiative to improve tourism across several countries, particularly, Namibia, Zimbabwe and Zambia, will be strengthened as well,” he added.
On the topic of the current closure of the entity, Mutumba said the halt to operations is temporary. “The government 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 added.
He said that the rationale for the closure is to provide a pause to examine how the Zambezi Waterfront can be better managed, and what business model could better satisfy the requirements of international and local tourism.