THE improvement of infrastructure at the Great Zimbabwe World Heritage Site is expected to boost the tourism sector in line with the Government’s drive to make the tourism sector a $5 billion industry by 2025.
Cabinet last week approved the memorandum on the co-operation project between the National Museums and Monuments of Zimbabwe (NMMZ) and the French Development Agency (FDA) on the improvements of infrastructure at the Great Zimbabwe site in Masvingo.
Following this development, Tourism Business Council of Zimbabwe president, Mr Wengai Nhau, said the tourism industry was set to benefit as every improvement on infrastructure and amenities brings about improved quality of the product and adds value to the product.
“The understanding I have is that they (FDA) will assist in the marketing of the attraction. We all must bear in mind that the Great Zimbabwe Monuments are the biggest in sub-Saharan Africa and the second biggest after the pyramids of Egypt,” he said.
“So, it still remains a major landmark in the tourism sector as well as history of the country. It’s a very significant landmark.”
Mr Nhau said an increase of traffic to the monument would result in the improvement of the economy of the whole province.
“If I’m to take the amount of traffic and business generated by the pyramids of Egypt and if we aim to get half of what the pyramids get in terms of traffic, it will improve not only the Great Zimbabwe Monument but the economy of that area,” he said.
“It’s a welcome move and we remain optimistic that the project will take off and it will be completed within the shortest possible time.
“As the tourism industry, we are always ready to support Government initiatives and other donors that may come to assist us. We’re the ultimate beneficiaries of that product,” said Mr Nhau.
Zimbabwe Tourism Authority spokesperson, Mr Godfrey Koti, said heritage and culture preservation were some of the country’s unique selling points.
“It’s a great development for tourism. It’s a great development for our heritage and culture preservation, which is one of our unique selling points.
“We package this and we sell it to people. So, when we’re making such efforts at Central Government level it means we care about our product, it means we want to edify our product and preserve that which is a unique selling point,” he said.
“We’re very grateful to the Government and to NMMZ and their partners for pushing this initiative until this stage of approval.”
Mr Koti said the implementation of the project would benefit tourism in the bigger scheme of things.
“Remember we’re looking at creating a $5 billion tourism economy by 2025. We can only look at this as a great stride towards formulating the basis of building this economy that we talk about,” he added.
“It’s a great initiative, we’re elated that NMMZ managed to pull it through and we can only expect great things.