28 août 2013

8月27日 ジンバブウェに「アフリカのディズニーランド」? Zimbabwe plans 'Disneyland in Africa'

Le mardi 27 août 2013

先月末に実施されたジンバブウェの大統領選挙はまたも現職ムガベの勝利となった。今回は欧米による選挙監視を拒否、アフリカ連合とSADC(南部アフリカ開発共同体)による監視だけが行われた。違反がないクリーンな選挙だったとは誰も言わないが、前回20083月の選挙のような交際的非難の合唱は聞こえてこない。対立候補で首相だったツバンギライMorgan Tsvangiraiの矛先も心なしか弱いような気がする。しかも首相として今日なお留任している。

そんな中、『ガーディアン』紙によれば、観光大臣ムゼンビWalter Mzembiが大プロジェクトを発表した。ジンバブウェはザンビアとビクトリア瀑布を分け合っている。ジンバブウェ側の方が水量が多く、乾季でも水が流れ落ちている。そのビクトリア瀑布の近くに「アフリカのディズニーランド」を建設するというのである。1200ヘクタール、3億ドル規模の一大観光開発計画である。ムガベの白人排斥政策と超インフレのために落ち込んでいた観光が、近年持ち直してきており、今年第一四半期は全年比17%増加、2015年には観光がGNP15%に達する見込みだそうだ。

Zimbabwe plans 'Disneyland in Africa'
Tourism minister outlines scheme to build $300m entertainment complex, with banks and casinos, near Victoria Falls
David Smith, Africa correspondent
The Guardian, Monday 26 August 2013 16.56 BST

Victoria Falls
The formula has worked in California, Florida and Paris. Now officials in Zimbabwe, eager to rebrand a country notorious for economic collapse and political violence, want to build a "Disneyland in Africa".

Walter Mzembi, the tourism and hospitality minister, told New Ziana, the official news agency, that the government was planning a $300m (£193m) theme park near Victoria Falls, the country's top tourist attraction.

Mzembi was quoted as saying the resort would be a "Disneyland in Africa", although he did not appear to suggest that the statue of explorer David Livingstone, which overlooks the falls, would be supplanted by a jobbing actor in a Mickey Mouse costume.

Instead, he outlined plans for shopping malls, banks and exhibition and entertainment facilities such as casinos. "We have reserved 1,200 hectares of land closer to Victoria Falls international airport to do hotels and convention centres," Mzembi told New Ziana on the sidelines of the UN World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) general assembly , which Victoria Falls is co-hosting with the town of Livingstone in neighbouring Zambia.

Mzembi said the project would cost about $300m.

"We want to create a free zone with a banking centre where even people who do not necessarily live in Zimbabwe can open bank accounts," he said.

The government has plans to invest $150m in expanding the town's airport to accommodate bigger aircraft, according to the report from Ziana. Mzembi said the government had found funding partners including multilateral financial institutions.

Visitors travel from across the world to see Victoria Falls where water plummets more than 100 metres into the Zambezi gorge, generating mists of spray so high they can be seen up to 30 miles away. A bridge linking Zimbabwe and Zambia offers bungee jumping but made headlines for the wrong reasons last year when an Australian tourist narrowly survived her cord snapping.

The nearby town offers few reasons to linger or spend money, however, despite the launch last month of an open-top bus tour in an attempt to drum up interest. Mzembi hopes to appeal to a younger market.

Zimbabwe's considerable tourism potential was devastated by a decade of conflict and hyperinflation but has recovered in recent years. The government says it recorded a 17% increase in tourist arrivals in the first quarter of 2013, up 346,299 to 404,282. It has predicted the tourism sector will contribute 15% to GDP by 2015 if the country remains stable.

Following a mostly peaceful, though bitterly disputed, election last month, Zimbabwe's co-hosting of the UNWTO conference this week is seen as another milestone towards that stability. But the decision to award the conference to Zimbabwe as a co-host was condemned by the independent UN Watch human rights group as a "disgraceful show of support – and a terribly timed award of false legitimacy – for a brutal, corrupt and authoritarian regime.

Hillel Neuer, head of the Geneva-based group, added: "Amid reports of election rigging and continuing human rights abuses, Zimbabwe is the last country that should be legitimised by a UN summit of any kind. The notion that the UN should spin this country as a lovely tourist destination is, frankly, sickening."

President Robert Mugabe's associated status as UN "leader for tourism" has also been questioned by critics of his 33-year rule.

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