Zim to establish tourism zones

ZIMBABWE is set to establish 11 Tourism Development Zones (TDZ) aimed at growing tourism under its National Tourism Master Plan (NTMP), a Cabinet minister said.

Tourism minister Walter Mzembi last week said the set-up would be similar to Special Economic Zones, but tailored to drive tourism volumes and increase the sector’s fiscal contribution.

“The NTMP will work as a guide in product development and diversification, infrastructural and manpower development, community participation and preservation of nature, culture and heritage,” he said in the capital during a meeting to review the NTMP.

The African Development Bank availed around $4 million in 2014 to fund development of the NTMP, with Mzembi saying the plan will also be focused on developing and enhancing the sector’s performance around the country’s bio-diversity.

The 11 initial TDZs targeted in the implementation of the plan are Harare — which would be earmarked as a business, meeting and conferences zone — the Eastern Highlands— for its scenery — Chimanimani — for mountain-based tourism activities  and Gonarezhou for its wildlife.

Great Zimbabwe has also been targeted for heritage, culture and water-based activities, Limpopo for its wildlife.

The Midlands, Kariba and Mavhuradonha are also targeted zones for offering a variety of water-based activities, wildlife and cultural events.

Due to the presence of the falls, Victoria Falls has also been targeted along with Bulawayo for business and meetings.

Italian firm, Keios Tourism International Consultancy Company developed the plan with the assistance of local experts. Initially the plan was envisaged to be completed last year, but missed its deadline.

Mzembi said effective implementation of the plan would enable Zimbabwe to deliver sustainable development tourism for the benefit of the economy.

“80 percent of Zimbabwe’s tourism product is our bio-diversity, our flora and fauna.

“Bio-diversity has become a major attraction to the international source markets,” he said.

The country aims at improving tourism sector earnings from the current $1 billion to over $5 billion, with tourist arrivals expected to multiply to 12,5 million by 2035.

 

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