“This comes as a result of some helicopter operators doing business along the Zambezi River from the Zambian side. The construction of hotels and lodges is another factor. But there has been a joint heritage management plan agreed to by Zimbabwe and Zambia to stop major developments that go against the rules of UNESCO,” said Mlalazi.
Developments on the Zambian side have been stalled as the two countries work together on a joint plan to avoid the de-listing of the site as one of the seven natural wonders of the world.
This has resulted in pressure mounting on one of the leading tour operators in the region – Shearwater Adventures – to relocate their helipad to a nearby site in Chamabondo, in line with UNESCO.
The helipad is used to launch flights over the rainforest.
“Since time immemorial, planners outlined that the site near Elephant Hills Resort was temporary, as it was not suitable for such operations. That site, even from old and outdated plans, was not, and is still not, suitable for helicopter flights. The activity is not in harmony with development,” said Mlalazi.
The Victoria Falls is Zimbabwe’s biggest tourist attraction due to an eclectic composition of the wildlife and the mighty Falls which have attracted international celebrities: Michael Jackson, American musician Joe Thomas and Russian tycoon and Chelsea Football Club owner Roman Abromovich. – CAJ News
Source: Helipad endangers tourism (14/06/08)