Zimbabwe banks on Heritage Tourism

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Zimbabwe Government’s enshrinement programme is set to take heritage tourism to greater heights following the allocation of resources from treasury.

This was announced by the minister of Tourism and Hospitality Industry, Honourable Prisca Mupfumira in a telephone interview from Dubai, where she is attending the Arabian Travel Market. Said Minister Mupfumira: “We received news of the exciting development that Government had approved the budget submitted by my Ministry for the enshrinement programme. I had put this long overdue project as part of my 100 days 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 hundred days’ programme we have prioritised five sites, namely: The Chinhoyi Battle Site and the Seven Heroes burial site (Chinhoyi), Trabablas Trail (Masvingo), Pupu Shangani (Matabeleland North), Old Bulawayo Site (Bulawayo) and Tangwena Village (Manicaland). I am grateful to the leadership for allowing me to champion this important cause and to my colleague, the Minister of Home Affairs, Honourable Obert Mpofu and other colleagues in Cabinet as well as in the party for all their support.”

Following the ushering in of a new dispensation in Zimbabwe and the new administration led by His Excellency the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe, Cde E D Mnangagwa, each Minister was given targets to meet within the first hundred days of their entering office. That is when Honourable Mupfumira took leadership of the enshrinement programme as one of her 100 days programmes. The four projects alluded to by Honourable Minister Mupfumira will at last see the light of the day after close to four decades of non-action.

Following the allocation of the resources work is set to commence on the development of the four sites. Already work has started at the Chinhoyi Battle Site where the executing agency, National Museums and Monuments of Zimbabwe (NMMZ) have commenced site mobilisation. The Honourable Minister of Tourism and Hospitality Industry will soon be unveiling to the nation the grand plan for the site that will change the face of tourism in Chinhoyi in particular and Mashonaland West in general. Commenting on the development, NMMZ Director, Dr 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 National Museums and Monuments of Zimbabwe 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.”

Tourism is the major beneficiary of this development as this will add to the diversity of the country’s tourism product. Heritage tourism is getting increasingly popular with the travelling public who seek to gain more understanding of the history and culture as well as the people in the destinations visited. The Chief Executive of the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority added his voice: “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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Juergen Thomas Steinmetz has continuously worked in the travel and tourism industry since he was a teenager in Germany (1979), beginning as a travel agent up through today as a publisher of eTurboNews (eTN), one of the world’s most influential and most-read travel and tourism publications. He is also Chairman of ICTP. His experiences include working and collaborating with various national tourism offices and non-governmental organizations, as well as private and non-profit organizations, and in planning, implementing, and quality control of a range of travel and tourism-related activities and programs, including tourism policies and legislation. His major strengths include a vast knowledge of travel and tourism from the point of view of a successful private enterprise owner, superb networking skills, strong leadership, excellent communication skills, strong team player, attention to detail, dutiful respect for compliance in all regulated environments, and advisory skills in both political and non-political arenas with respect to tourism programs, policies, and legislation. He has a thorough knowledge of current industry practices and trends and is a computer and Internet junkie.