HARARE-- Zimbabwe's Tourism and Hospitality Industry Ministry will soon start constructing

shrines at neglected liberation war sites across the country as part of moves to promote the country's heritage, says the Minister, Prsca Mupfumira.

The initial programme will target five sites -- the Chinhoyi Battle site and the Seven Heroes burial site in the same province, Trabablas Trail in Masvingo Province, Pupu Shangani in Matabeleland North Province, Old Bulawayo Site and Tangwena Village in Manicaland Province.

The five sites, while relatively unknown, represent different times and events in the execution of the country's war of freedom from British colonial rule.

Mupfumira said the government had released funds for the project, but did not reveal the amount. Zimbabwe has many liberation war sites that need to be memorialized as we package our own history, she said.

Prominent heritage shrines include the National Heroes Acre in the capital, Harare, the Chimoio Monument in Mozambique and provincial heroes' acres across the country.

Zimbabwe Tourism Authority chief executive Karikoga Kaseke says the tourism sector woill be the major beneficiary of the initiative. Our destination brand, 'Zimbabwe: A world of Wonders', is premised on the seven wonders of our own world which include our rich history and heritage and our wonderful people and culture, he said

The development of the sites and others will no doubt boost our tourism as this would be a welcome addition to our attraction base.

Heritage tourism is gaining prominence with tourists who are keen on understanding the history and culture as well as the people in destinations visited. The National Museums and Monuments of Zimbabwe, which is implementing the project, said work had already commenced at the Chinhoyi site.