Zimbabwe will soon unveil a national tourism master plan (NTMP) which will be hinged on promoting domestic travel and focusing on establishing an initial 11 tourism development zones (TDZs) across the country.
The plan is expected to drive the growth and success of the sector in the next two decades and help attain the vision of Zimbabwe becoming one of the top five tourism destinations in the Southern African Development Community. The African Development Bank availed around $4 million in 2014 to fund development of the NTMP. Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister, Walter Mzembi said the plan focused on developing and enhancing the sector’s performance around the country’s bio-diversity.
“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 at a review meeting of the plan.
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.
The target is to have the tourism sector improving its earnings from the current $1 billion to over $5 billion, with tourist arrivals expected to multiply to 12,5 million by 2035. Minister Mzembi said effective implementation of the plan would enable Zimbabwe to deliver sustainable development tourism for the benefit of the economy.
“Eighty 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 told stakeholders.
The 11 initial TDZs targeted in the implementation of the plan are Harare, which would be 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 been targeted for heritage, culture and water based activities, Limpopo for its wildlife, Victoria Falls for the spectacular seventh wonder of the world — the falls- as well as meetings and conference and Bulawayo for business and meetings. The Midlands, Kariba and Mavhuradonha are also targeted zones for offering a variety of water based activities, wildlife and cultural events. — New Ziana.