Zim pursues religious tourism

HARARE - Zimbabwe will vigorously pursue  religious travel, with the southern African country standing to benefit from more than 300 million travellers who are inspired by religious tourism.

Walter Mzembi, minister of Tourism and Hospitality Industry, said this on the side lines of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) and World Travel Market (WTM) ministers summit underway in London.

The summit, which was held under the theme, Bridging the gap between Tourism and Aviation Policies, brought under one roof ministers of Tourism from across the globe; aviation and tourism experts, among others.

Mzembi, who is also the UNWTO chairperson of the Commission for Africa (Caf), was responding to critical issues raised during the policy deliberations around visa facilitation and tourism promotion.

He said Zimbabwe was already seized with this matter and the introduction of other tourism products will enhance seamless travel into the country.

“We must move away from traditional perceptions of strict border controls to a more liberalised regime of visa facilitation that supports travel,” Mzembi said.

“Consistent with the tradition of Zimbabwe as a Christian country, I remind everyone of Isaiah chapter 60 verse 11. This bible reading inspires the direction we are now taking in terms of new products of which religious tourism is one of them.” 

The Bible verse reads: “Therefore your gates shall be open continually; they shall not be shut day or night that men may bring to you the wealth of Gentiles, and their Kings in procession.”

Apart from the visa regimes, the ministers summit, which was being led by the UNWTO secretary general Taleb Rifai, also discussed aviation policies, connectivity and taxation, interrogating how these matters are affecting the growth and development of global tourism.

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