Chief Mukuni opposes the commercialisation of Victoria Falls

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Senior Chief Mukuni of Kazungula District in Southern Province (left), his wife Victoria (middle) and Zambia’s First Republican President Kenneth Kaunda’s daughter, Cheswa Kaunda Silwizya (right) during the official opening of the Hotel in Livingstone
Senior Chief Mukuni of Kazungula District in Southern Province
(left), his wife Victoria (middle) and Zambia’s First Republican
President Kenneth Kaunda’s daughter, Cheswa Kaunda Silwizya (right)
during the official opening of the Hotel in Livingstone

SENIOR Chief Mukuni of the Toka-leya People of Kazungula District in Southern Province has opposed the calls to commercialise Victoria Falls as a way of attracting more tourists to the site.

He said there was need to maintain Victoria Falls in the natural form so that visitors get the real taste of the natural wonder of the world.

In an interview in Livingstone, Senior Chief Mukuni noted that tourists around the world were interested in viewing Victoria Falls in its natural form as opposed to viewing an imitation of the Falls.

“In my opinion, we should keep the Falls as natural as possible and not commercialise it.

In any case the Falls is already commercialised because you can get internet in the nearby hotels.

There is nothing wrong in having moonlight to visit Victoria Falls in the night and still keep it as natural as possible,” he said.

Last month, Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) Chief Executive Karikoga Kaseke said in an interview in Harare that Zambia and Zimbabwe should commercialise the Victoria Falls destination like the case for Niagara Falls in United States of America (USA) to attract more tourists across the globe.

Niagara Falls, which is smaller compared to Victoria Falls, attracts about US$ 30 billion earnings yearly while both sides of the Victoria Falls in Zambia and Zimbabwe only attracts an income of less than US$ 500, 000 annually.

Mr Kaseke said there was need to commercialise Victoria Falls by electrifying the premises, putting up modern infrastructure and ensuring that water flows were reasonable throughout the year.

He said Victoria Falls, which is not open to the public in the night, could not attract more tourists in its current state because it was a seasonal activity and it lacked modern infrastructure.

Mr Kaseke said Niagara Falls had been commercialised and it was attracting US$ 30 billion earnings annually compared to less than US$ 500, 000 earnings recorded at the Victoria Falls for Zimbabwe and Zambia.

“By any measure, Victoria Falls is far much bigger than Niagara Falls. But look, we have tried to make Victoria Falls remain as natural as possible.

This is good for other purposes but what it means is that we have not fully commercialised the Falls. We need to electrify Victoria Falls and start running it on 24 hours basis instead of closing the premises in the night,” he said.

Mr Kaseke said Victoria Falls had potential to raise more revenue from tourists if the area had electricity, steady water flows, restaurants,accommodation facilities and other modern amenities like the case at Niagara Falls.

“We don’t need the Falls to remain a natural world heritage site as stipulated by United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).

We need to go the Niagara Falls way and make money for our people and our economies. We can gain a lot of benefits if we commercialise it,” Mr Kaseke said.

He asked Zambia and Zimbabwe to forgo the US$ 25, 000 which UNESCO gave them per year to maintain the Falls as a natural heritage site.

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14 COMMENTS

    • It sounds like a sensible argument, but comparing Niagara to Victoria falls doesn’t make sense. For one thing, Niagara is between US and Canada, which are two of the world’s largest and richest countries. That aside, Canada and The US emphasize so much on internal tourists, which means most of the visitors are from the city of Toronto where the falls is located, in the case of Canada.Zambia, on the other hand, thinks the word tourist refers to white people and not their own one million strong upper middle class.

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    • Can someone remind us what happened to Chief Mukini During the Bungee Jumping sometime back anyone who knows?

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  1. The best way is for Senior Chief Mukuni to visit Niagara falls in the United states and see for himself the difference, and what is to be gained, and lost, by commercialising it to the full extent like in the US. Then compare the gains Vs losses. Then,and only then, can he make a stand.

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  2. Does the chief know what commercialisation is OR has the reporter lost him in translation…this is what happens when the local community does not FEEL the tangible benefits of tourism. Like someone stated this chief on the thread ….give an opportunity for the chief to visit some of world heritage sites and see how they put sustainable tourism into practice.

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  3. The big chunk of $ 30 billion revenue is from people who live nearby or within the USA and canada and not tourists from other countries. So going by that, it would take more than commercialising the site to even reach half of that amount

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  4. WHY YOUNG VICTORIA MARRIED OLD MUKUNI? WHATS WRONG WITH ZAMBIAN WOMEN? look now kaseba , maureen, and regina are widows, who will look at them ..maybe BASHI NONO

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  5. Was at the Niagara Falls this year and wow there is a tremendous difference in “how” we run the falls. Firstly, their is nothing wrong with the Victoria falls in their current form. What we need to do is encourage our cousins in Kalabo to travel once in a while and come visit the falls so they can spend their hard earned money from litapi on the women from Mukuni village. Then they can try the helicopter ride or bunji jumping o take a swim in the devils’ pool. Since they have not mountains or stones, maybe they take a run down to the boiling pot. Point is local tourists from Kabompo, Kasama need to learn to visit the falls. I have been embarrassed many times when I meet a Zambian in Europe, US or Canada and they say they have never been to the falls.

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  6. Poor Zim minister. He lives in the dark. How can he compare tourist to vic falls and Niagara without looking at the economies. Niagara falls is visited by local tourists. Has he checked lately how much it costs to fly from USA or Europe to southern Africa? Talk about the bureaucracy. Has he any ideas how much hotels and car rentals costs in the two regions? Go revisit the Niagara falls this time not on Govt sponsorship. He will learn a thing or two.

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  7. The chief once tried bungee jumping, he sh!t his pants before the force of elasticity could pull him back up, by the time they pulled him up he was covered in his own fecal matter,he made legacy for himself.?

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