Freedom Mupanedemo Midlands Bureau
Tourist attractions in the Midlands province have been lying idle for years, but now they need to be used in community-based tourism enterprises, Minister of Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry Mangaliso Ndlovu has said.
He was speaking yesterday in Gweru after a week-long tour of the province’s tourist attractions.
Minister Ndlovu said Midlands could be one of the upmarket destinations, both by domestic and international tourists, if its tourism tapestries were revamped.
“Midlands is endowed with a rich history and heritage, pristine wildlife and nature,” he said. “It is in this region where you find natural blend and easy fit of the Mashonaland and Matabalelend traditions, culture, history and heritage.
“With an assortment of minerals also along the Great Dyke, the province can as well be one of the best tourist attractions both internationally and domestically.”
Minister Ndlovu said his tour of the province unearthed a lot of potential with opportunities that can turn around the provincial GDP in line with Vision 2030 of achieving an upper middle income economy.
“Notwithstanding all the established tourism products in the province, I am charmed that we still have a number of untapped tourism opportunities in this province,” he said.
His Ministry will spearhead the community-based tourism enterprises, setting the province to be a leading example on how regions can tap their tourism products towards growing the economy.
“The potential for community-based tourism enterprises at Chiyubunzoi Cultural Centre can never be underestimated,” said Minister Ndlovu. “Key areas for investment include the family friendly White Waters resort, the scenic Korogwe Gorge in Zvishavane, the magical Gandavaroti Gorge in Gokwe, among others.”
Minister Ndlovu said each province across the country has its unique tourism products that can help contribute to the country’ Vision 2030.
In line with the devolution agenda, the Ministry was on a drive to develop tourism products at provincial level to benefit the locals.
“As I have been touring around the country, I have discovered that each province has its own unique selling points which can be leveraged to collate destination Zimbabwe packages,” said Minister Ndlovu.
“As a ministry, we are also cognisant of devolution and decentralisation which has taken prominance under the Second Republic. The Ministry has thus embarked on a determined drive to push for the development of tourism at provincial level for the benefit of the local communities who are the custodians of the resources.”
There was also need to protect the environment to enable a growth in the tourism economy.
“Thus, tourism thrives in a clean environment,” said Minister Ndlovu. “In relation to all our local authorities, both urban and rural, I encourage them to develop into a circular economy through proper waste and polution management.
“Waste management continues to be a challenge that most local authorities are grappling with as the volume of waste generated countinues to increase.”