Vice President Retired General Dr Constantine Chiwenga has officially launched the national tourism master plan and the community based tourism enterprise manual and handbook in Masvingo today.

The master plan is expected to guide the tourism sector up to the year 2035.

Zimbabwe has been operating without a tourism master plan since independence, thus relying on the Tourism Act of 1996 and the National Tourism Policy of 2012. 

Vice President Chiwenga who launched the master plan, said with the plan in place, the tourism sector is expected to record double digit growth levels anchored by tourism growth at the grassroots.

“Globally tourism is regarded as an engine for socio economic development. Tourism by its pervasive nature plays a significant role in the economies of most countries. Equally the government of Zimbabwe views tourism as one of the four economic pillars of the economy among agriculture, mining and the manufacturing sector. As government we are therefore delighted to note that the tourism sector is on a rising trajectory and prospects for more growth in the future are very positive,’’ he said.

The country has already received increased arrivals during the first quarter of the year, with the Victoria Falls registering an over 17 000 increase from a baseline of 8 000 in air traffic arrivals at the Victoria Falls International Airport.

The figures point to a 48 percent increase compared to last year.

The African Development Bank funded the development of the master plan which provides a framework for the accelerated development of the tourism sector.

The plan involves the identification of ten tourism development zones throughout the country, which will be invested into.

Vice President Chiwenga urged private sector players to take advantage of all tourism opportunities identified in the master plan and utilise the $15 million tourism development support facility initiated by government through the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe to fund tourism projects.