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Victoria Falls to become ‘cyber city’ during UN event


Victoria Falls, one of Africa’s natural wonders, is to become a ‘cyber city’ during a United Nations (UN) tourism conference next month, a government official has said.

In preparation for the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) General Assembly General Assembly on August 24, Econet Wireless, which is Zimbabwe’s largest mobile operator, is upgrading its network and installing micro base stations to prop up the communications infrastructure and services in the Zimbabwean town of Victoria Falls.

Both Zimbabwe and Zambia are to co-host the event which is planned to be held in the Victoria Falls area.

And Econet has been roped in as the communications partner for the tourism indaba.

On Friday, Econet unveiled what it says is a high tech communications centre that is planned to be used to ensure smooth communications during the tourism assembly meeting.

Isaiah Nyangari, the chief marketing officer for Econet Wireless, said on Friday that the Zimbabwean telco has put in place 15 more base stations in and around Victoria Falls.

While the company says it has invested heavily in its voice capacity systems and network, Nyangari also added that Econet has sought to speed up the installation of fibre optic cables linking Victoria Falls and Bulawayo, Zimbabwe’s second biggest city.

Meanwhile, Zimbabwean tourism minister, Walter Mzembi, said his ministry has engaged Econet in an effort to ensure that delegates to the tourism event have immediate access to telecommunications services.

“Victoria Falls will be a cyber city by the time we commence the proceedings of the UNWTO General Assembly on August 24 (2013). That is a condition that we must answer to the general assembly secretariat,” he said.

Other Zimbabwean telecommunications companies are also hoping to cash in on the tourism indaba, with state-owned mobile operator NetOne announcing last year that it was planning to introduce data roaming in the Victoria Falls area ahead of the tourism assembly.

“NetOne is rolling out such (international roaming) services to enable our delegates to enjoy data
roaming services,” Reward Kangai, NetOne’s managing director has previously said.

He said NetOne had embarked on an “accelerated drive” to roll out 3G services throughout the
country, adding that the Victoria Falls town was already covered to enable international visitors to enjoy data services offered by the company.


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