HARARE, July 19 — The Zimbabwe government will on Thursday next week launch a new tourism policy that seeks to foster sustained growth in the sector, a Cabinet Minister has said.

Zimbabwe’s tourism sector is on the rebound after years of decline mainly caused by bad publicity the country received from western media over the years.

But despite a marked improvement since dollarization of the economy in 2009, the sector still faces challenges including inadequate infrastructure and limited air connectivity.

Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister Walter Mzembi said the new policy sought to address some of the challenges stifling faster growth in the sector.

“On the 24th of July we are going to be launching a new tourism policy at the Celebration Centre in Harare,” he said.

The policy will focus on tourism development issues, facilitation in Zimbabwe and institutional frameworks.

Mzembi said the new tourism policy would also seek to incorporate and complement the religious tourism concept that Zimbabwe has adopted.

Zimbabwe has introduced a policy on religious tourism after realizing that at least 30 percent of the world’s travelling public was motivated to do so by religion, contributing about $18 billion annually to international tourism receipts.

“On the day we shall also be unveiling a new thrust on religious tourism. The Celebration Centre will be designated as a religious tourism structure.”

The Zion Christian Church in Bikita, Masvingo Province has already been accorded religious tourism structure status.

Despite funding challenges, the country has managed to upgrade some tourism-related infrastructure such as airports in towns like Victoria Falls, and spruced up its image as a safe tourist destination.

SOURCE: New Ziana