President Mnangagwa calls for tourism development

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Masvingo (New Ziana) – President Emmerson Mnangagwa on Thursday called for continued funding of tourism incubation programmes to ensure local communities benefit from the country’s rich tourist heritage and natural endowments.

He was speaking at the Great Zimbabwe Monuments (GZM) in Masvingo where he presided over the signing of a three million Euro partnership between the National Museums and Monuments of Zimbabwe (NMMZ) and the French Development Agency (FDA) for the preservation and promotion of the World Heritage Site.

“The modernization of the Nemamwa Craft Centre and Cultural Hub, as well as the training in environmental management practices, amongst a myriad of other outcomes of this project must be speedily implemented,” he said,
challenging tourism, travel and hospitality sector players to use technology to brand and market the country’s tourism products in traditional and emerging markets in line with the United National World Tourism Organisation spirit of ‘tourism for all by 2030’.

He commended the partnership between the FDA and the Zimbabwe government in the preservation and promotion of the GZM as a welcome development.

“The intervention of this project will go a long way in enhancing the realisation of our country’s tourism recovery and growth targets. The multi-dimensional package of interventions of this project which include documentation and conservation of tangible and intangible heritage of the site; installation of interpretation and visitors’ facilities at the site, as well as commercial management and marketing of the site are a welcome development,” he said.

President Mnangagwa said the capacity building of NMMZ as well as strengthening of research and development under the project must propel the tourism development and marketing vision of the iconic GZM site.

The GZM, from which the country derives its name, was one of Zimbabwe’s major national tourist attractions, he said.

It was, therefore, the physical embodiment and expression of the country’s national identity and remains the source of pride, inspiration and a cradle of the country’s civilisation, rich heritage and culture bequeathed to Zimbabweans by their forebearers.

“To us in Zimbabwe, the monument is not only about its grandiose architecture but a revered national shrine and place of worship that symbolizes our sacred cultural traditions and belief systems,” he said. “I therefore take the opportunity of this occasion to applaud the government, stakeholders, traditional leaders and communities here in Masvingo province for preserving, protecting and safe guarding this World Heritage site.”

President Mnangagwa said people without knowledge of their history, origin and culture was like a tree without roots, hence the country was obligated to preserve its diverse and rich cultural heritage.

“We must be alive to the fact that our protracted armed struggle for independence also revolved around the importance of the Great Zimbabwe Monument as the oppressive white minority regime had the intention of denying us the Zimbabwean people of its ownership and authorship. The failed ploy to underplay our fore-fathers’ human creativity was realized through a protracted war of liberation. Today we are an independent, free, democratic and sovereign country. Never again will our country and people be subdued in any form.”

“The unifying force that builds this great country emboldens us to work harder towards the realisation of our national vision 2030. To this end, we will unapologetically invest in our local economy, construct our roads, dams, schools, clinics and hospitals, produce what we eat, manufacture our own clothes and safeguard our peace, unity and cultural heritage,” he said.
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