The National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) is courting some investors for partnership to build a hotel in Victoria Falls as it seeks to diversify its operations.
NRZ, which has been struggling to satisfy customer needs due to crippled capacity among other challenges, seeks to leverage on its other properties such as vast pieces of land dotted around the country to contribute to national economic development.
The parastatal already has a minimal presence in the tourism industry through use of rail leisure premier class coaches, museums and steam train excursions. NRZ is also into real estate business.
Lately the parastatal has been repossessing some of its pieces of land from leases who may have not been putting it to good use.
It plans to build a hotel in Victoria Falls on one of its pieces of land between the NRZ station and Kingdom Hotel and expects to announce the development partner within two weeks.
On Saturday NRZ officials had closed door meetings with the potential investor in Victoria Falls.
In an interview, NRZ acting principal property manager Ms Rachel Vandirai said the parastatal’s vision is to increase value of its vast pieces of land countrywide.
“The partners are very much interested in building the hotel as part of our programme to build infrastructure and add value to our land here in Victoria Falls. The impact of the project reflects more on accommodation and trying to help tourists stay in Victoria Falls.
“While improving tourism, as NRZ we are also interested in improving the value of our land resource. We have a huge chunk of land bank throughout the country hence we are not only targeting Victoria Falls,” she said.
Ms Vandirai could however not be drawn into disclosing who the investor is.
The Chronicle however understands that African Sun, with a chain of hotels countrywide and in the region, is the partner as the two companies are believed to be engaged in talks.
NRZ spokesperson Mr Nyasha Maravanyika said the parastatal strives to contribute to the nation’s developement through partnerships with various investors who are keen to develop Zimbabwe. “This is one commitment that NRZ is showing to ensure that we have something that is being developed on our land. NRZ is busting space barons throughout the country and we have come to Victoria Falls to see whether people are properly utilising our land,” he said.
Mr Maravanyika said NRZ also plans to build shopping malls around the country.
“NRZ has vast land and farms. We are planning on many programmes including malls and a lot of developments around tourism for national development which is why we are taking back our land from space barons who have been subletting our land without approval. We have found a prospective investor and signing of the agreement is expected in a fortnight,” said Mr Maravanyika.