ENVIRONMENT, Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister Prisca Mupfumira says her ministry is focusing on the establishment of community-based tourism through the establishment of cultural villages.
Zimbabwe is generally known for the majestic Victoria Falls but the minister is of the view that cultural villages will go a long way in ensuring that tourism is spread across the country and that tourists will stay a bit longer in the country.
There have concerns that though the country offers a peaceful environment needed for tourism, pristine wildlife and natural forests, it has been failing to ensure tourists stay longer thereby spending more as well.
Appearing before the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Environment, Tourism and Hospitality Industry, Minister Mupfumira said there each of the country’s 10 provinces has something to offer in terms of tourism and work must start to exploit for more attractions.
“We are saying Zimbabwe is endowed with a lot of natural resources in each and every province which we must now exploit we are saying now we need a trail when the visitor comes to Zimbabwe he must not say within a day they have seen everything in Zimbabwe, the person must move from Harare to Hwange, Victoria Falls, Binga, Kariba, to Chinhoyi, to Rusape, Manicaland and everywhere there is something there.
“So what we are doing as ministry is we are focusing also on community-based tourism we are saying for instance now we are identifying the need to have cultural villages and in terms of cultures, Tsholotsho has something completely different from Banket so we are saying lets have cultural villages when a tourist comes a lot of them say now we want to see real life, real life does not necessarily mean in Harare it means going out in Raffingora to see what is there.
“We are now encouraging formation of cultural villages we have the Chesvingo in Great Zimbabwe and Karanga Village, we are in the process of putting the Korekore Village in Makonde its almost done and in Tsholotsho we have another cultural village we have identified areas we would welcome people coming with ideas we are saying at least lets have in every province, the Doma people in Kanyemba, so this is something we have embarked on to make sure that it becomes a reality,” she said.
Mupfumira said women play a critical role in African culture such as cooking food, looking after huts and other activities compared to men adding that they are therefore looking for funds to assist women under the Women in Tourism to form cultural villages.
“We launched the Women in Tourism, and these are people we are looking for funds to assist them to come up with the cultural aspect of our areas, for example in Honde Valley we have the water and we also have the scenic and women can get involved.
“UNWTO is launching the first conference for Women in tourism in Africa in Ghana towards the end of this year so we want our women to be involved in culture with beads and crochet and we are also introducing cultural festivals and already I know two one in Murehwa and the other one at Nyaminyami in Kariba.
We want cultural festivals because then it brings the culture, the people together of that area and it’s another way of advertising Zimbabwe, that Zimbabwe tourism is not about Victoria Falls it’s about the rest of Zimbabwe,” she said.–