Wilderness to invest $10m in Zim

Atta member Wilderness Safaris is planning to invest up to $10 million towards the refurbishment of its facilities and the acquisition of aircraft as it gears to take advantage of Zimbabwe's fast recovering tourism sector. Wilderness Safaris last week signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Zimbabwe  government for close co-operation with the ministry of Tourism and Hospitality Industry.

Established in 1983, Wilderness operates camps and safaris in Botswana, Congo, Kenya, Namibia, Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe and the Seychelles. Speaking after signing the MOU on Saturday, Keith Vincent, an official at Wilderness said part of the funds would be used to improve its safari camps in the country..We want to acquire new aircraft for Wilderness Air which offers scheduled flights to various destinations, said Vincent. We will also invest in partnerships and training of staff. The conditions are good, we just need to deliver world class facilities.

Vincent said as a result of the economic downturn the country went through in recent years, the company was forced to reduce its staff complement to 400 from 650 in 1999. Wilderness has now a staff complement of over 2 800 across seven countries.

Wilderness Safaris operates privately on over 3 million hectares on the continents wildlife reserves with more than 70 lodges and camps. Zimbabwe Tourism Authority chief executive officer, Karikoga Kaseke, said Zimbabwe required investment in the subsector of accommodation in order to meet the growing demand.