ED approves major financial boost for heritage tourism

HARARE - Zimbabwe’s Cabinet has approved funding for a plan to capitalise heritage tourism, in a bid by President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government to add to a tourism boom witnessed following the ushering in of a new dispensation in Zimbabwe.

With scores of destinations introducing more airline routes amid a surge in air travel since November, Zimbabwe’s tourism sector grew over 56 percent in the three months ending March, with a fantastic outlook projected.

Tourism and Hospitality Industry minister Prisca Mupfumira said in a telephone interview from Dubai where she is attending the Arabian Travel Market that she had received news of the exciting development that government had approved the budget submitted by her ministry for the “enshrinement programme.”

“I had put this long overdue project as part of my 100-day programme and my team and I are elated by the allocation of resources to enable us embark on this project.

“Zimbabwe has many liberation war sites that need to be memorialised as we package our own history. For the 100 days’ programme, we have prioritised five sites, namely: The Chinhoyi Battle Site and the Seven Heroes burial site in Chinhoyi, Trabablas Trail in Masvingo, Pupu Shangani in Matabeleland North, Old Bulawayo Site and Tangwena Village in Manicaland.

“I am grateful to the leadership for allowing me to champion this important cause and to my colleague, the minister of Home Affairs, Obert Mpofu and other colleagues in Cabinet as well as in the party for all their support,” Mupfumira said.

The four projects will finally see the light of the day after close to four decades of non-action.

Already work has started at the Chinhoyi Battle Site where the executing agency, National Museums and Monuments of Zimbabwe (NMMZ) have commenced site mobilisation.

Commenting on the development, NMMZ director Godfrey Mahachi said: “Our teams have already moved in to commence works. We would like to thank the honourable minister of Tourism and Hospitality Industry for leading this process and government for availing the much needed resources to embark on the projects.

“As NMMZ, we are extremely excited and indeed honoured to be executing the project. Since the beginning of the 100 days we have met with different stakeholders and partners as an Enshrinement Committee, conducted several site visits and planning missions to Chinhoyi and the other sites. It is indeed a great achievement to be able to start the work and I would also like to add my voice in thanking the authorities for the resources.”

Karikoga Kaseke, the chief executive of the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority said: “Tourism should be the ultimate beneficiary of this development. Our destination brand ‘Zimbabwe A world of Wonders’ is premised on the seven wonders of our own world of which include our rich history and heritage and our wonderful people and culture.

“The development of the four sites and others will no doubt boost our tourism as this would be a welcome addition to our attraction base. We have waited for these developments for a long time and we are happy that at last both domestic and international tourists will be able to appreciate this part of our history as a result of the enshrinement programme.”

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