As part of the Zimbabwe Destination Development Program, the Government of Zimbabwe and the IFC appointed Freedthinkers to work with key stakeholders to answer the question: How might Victoria Falls and its surroundings become a stronger, more resilient tourism hub, to the benefit of both society and the environment?
Phase One of this process is to understand, then analyse and synthesise, what stakeholders believe is needed and wanted in Victoria Falls. Freedthinkers have been having in-depth dialogues with:-
- tourism and travel operators in Victoria Falls and around the world
- Public Service officials in Harare and Victoria Falls
- Groups of local non-profit organisations focused on conservation, youth, employees in tourism and rural communities
In addition, they have also commissioned a study on the medium-term effects of tourism in a post-Covid world. These findings will be presented to Government and stakeholders in the first quarter of 2021.
Phase Two of the process will be to examine what is desirable, through the lenses of what is sustainable and what is catalytic. Phase Two is due to commence in March or April of 2021. This process is integrated with development plans being initiated by ZIDA and the City of Victoria Falls. The larger picture includes: –
- The phased development of Masuwe
- The SEZ and tourism in Zimbabwe
- Victoria Falls as the hub of the KAZA region
Freedthinkers has a 25 year history of place development strategies around Southern Africa. These include:
The first city visioning in the democratic South Africa
Constitution Hill – balancing the wants and needs of many diverse stakeholders, co-creating a sustainable future, while keeping true to the spirit of place
Re-creating the Fashion District on the east side of the inner city
- Cape Town
A visioning process for business, then one for the City
V&A Waterfront – co-creating strategies for the Ocean economy and tourism
Noordhoek – a development and conservation strategy that brought unity to the fast-growing ‘village on the edge of the city’.
What happens to a diamond mining town in the Namib Desert, when the diamonds become unprofitable to mine? Freedthinkers conducted an extended process that has given Oranjemund a new purpose, seed funding and a concerted will to succeed, fuelled by a number of early victories.
“It is an honour to work for one of the seven natural wonders of the world. Our aim is to liberate its tourism potential – now and for generations to come” said Mike Freedman of Freedthinkers.