Vice President Joice Mujuru yesterday officially launched the National Tourism Policy at the Celebration Centre and expressed confidence that it will lay the foundation for the development of tourism in the country.The policy seeks to open up new tourism opportunities and develop new products
like cultural tourism, domestic tourism, culinary tourism, medical tourism, mega eventing, religious tourism and heritage based tourism and school tourism.
It will also provide mechanisms to provide easy entry into the sector by all sections of society, especially women and youths, at the same time promoting Zimbabwe in non-traditional markets like in the BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa).
VP Mujuru said Government identified tourism as one of the key contributors to the success of Zim-Asset.
“This is a significant development given that the tourism sector has been identified as one of the major drivers of economic growth under the cluster based Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation (Zim-Asset),” she said.
“I have no doubt that this National Tourism Policy will be a compass to guide us to lay a solid foundation for the sustainable development of tourism in Zimbabwe.”
VP Mujuru said Zimbabwe had an array of natural resources that could contribute to the growth of tourism if branded and marketed properly.
“This is our Zimbabwe, truly a World of Wonders. All these can provide us with vast opportunities for sustainable and viable tourism growth if well branded and effectively marketed.
“The challenge we face is to ensure future growth. In this respect we need to identify new areas that offer great potential for tourism development,” she said.
VP Mujuru called on the tourism industry to tap into the domestic market and promote areas beyond the traditional destinations.
The launch of the National Tourism Policy comes on the backdrop of the conferment on Zimbabwe of the World’s Best Tourism Destination for 2014 by the European Council for Travel and Trade following last year’s successful co-hosting of the 20th Session of the UNWTO General Assembly with Zambia.
VP Mujuru said Government would continue to explore ways of promoting sustainable development and social equity through the wise exploitation of our natural resources.
“To this extent, emphasis will be made on capacitating and empowering communities to provide goods and services at various levels in the tourism supply chain,” she said.
Meanwhile, Celebration Centre was accorded the Religious Tourism Facility as part of efforts to promote religious tourism. It becomes the second religious facility to be accorded such a status after the Zion Christian Church in Mbungu, Masvingo.
Farirai Machivenyika Senior Reporter