Combining tourism and environment under one roof requires the creation of synergies to ensure a shared vision, and a team that will be united for the success of the new ministry of environment, tourism and hospitality industry.
Speaking at her Ministry’s Strategic Plan in Mutare under the theme, “Towards a Prosperous and Empowered Upper Middle Income Society by 2030”, Priscah Mupfumira, the Minister of Environment, Tourism and Hospitality Industry said there are great opportunities for the sector to grow in line with the national mantra “Zimbabwe is Open For Business.”
She rallied her team to embrace exceptional levels of achievements, which will reinforce the sector’s position as one of the key contributors to the prosperous middle income economy.
“Therefore I call for collective determination and serious commitment of every individual who is part of “Team Environment and Tourism” to individually contribute to the collective efforts,” Mupfumira said.
Minister Mupfumira said the Strategic Plan should be aligned to the Transitional Stabilisation Programme (TSP) which runs from October 2018 to December 2020. The TSP prioritises key projects aimed at stimulating economic growth and employment creation of the Ministry which has two areas flagged out as follows – :
- Environmental management, targeting protection, restoration and promotion of sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainable management of forests, fighting the veld fire scourge, combating desertification, halting and reversing land degradation and loss of bio-diversity; and
- Tourism development and promotion focusing on aggressive marketing and rebranding of Zimbabwe, as well as robust support for Domestic Tourism and Community Based Tourism.
The Strategic Plan is expected to champion the pronouncements of the National Blueprint and the Transitional Stabilisation Programme.
It has emerged that the transformation of Zimbabwe to an upper Middle Class State by 2030 requires total dedication and commitment by every Zimbabwean regardless of their station in life.
“I therefore wish to emphasise that it can no longer business as usual, if we are expecting exceptional results. A Government has adopted the 100 days cycle system as a way of promoting accountability and evaluation of various projects being implemented by both Government and the private sector. This is an initiative to accelerate rapid results for the good of the nation. The growth envisaged during the period of this Strategic Plan will inevitably be driven by us as Government working closely with the Private Sector, hence the need to involve them in our Plan of Action as we have done today.
“As we plan our way forward allow me therefore, to spell out Key Policy Priorities for the Ministry for the year 2019 going forward, so that our Strategic Plan has high impact to the social and economic well-being of the nation.”
In this regard, Mupfumira called for consideration of the following among others:-
i) Enhanced Biodiversity and Conservation
Zimbabwe boasts 12.3% of the land being protected national parks and wildlife area and 2.6% state forests. The country has been a regional leader in terms of conservation policies and there is need to restore that position through effective interventions. There is need to protect the flora and fauna and address issues of human and wildlife conflict within National Parks Estates.
ii) Sustainable Environment Protection
There is need to make a difference within the next 3 years to the environment by putting in place implementable and sustainable strategies that instil a culture of cleanliness around us. There should be measures to reduce land degradation, which has become a menace to people’s lives and scale up the preservation of the environment and solid waste management.
iii) Accelerated Reforestation
Zimbabwean forests are reducing day by day and as a sector, there is need to accelerate reforestation and afforestation as a mitigatory factor. The rate of depletion calls for extraordinary intervention measures. In this regard the focus will be on both wood and fruit trees to attend to nutritional needs of the country.
iv) Tourism Development and Promotion
Tourism is the face of the country, there is need to put in place effective marketing strategies to attract tourists and rebrand destination Zimbabwe. Therefore, deployment of Tourism Attaches becomes urgent.
There is need to urgently facilitate the establishment of a Tourism Revolving Fund as a mechanism to create capital injection aimed at supporting the industry, as well as addressing challenges such as shortage of hotel room capacity and facilities. There is also need to promote domestic tourism and encourage locals to participate in tourism and conservation initiatives.
v) Investment Promotion
Zimbabwe is open for business. Each parastatal and state enterprise where applicable, is expected to attract investors though a viable investment plan. This is the opportunity to attract both local and international brands to do business in Zimbabwe. There is need to do much more to promote MICE business to Zimbabwe.
vi) Use of ICTs
Since things are changing from time to time, there is need to embrace digital operations. In fact this is one of the key and basic items which need attention. It easily makes us accessible to the world, at a cheaper, faster and more effective way than participation at fairs and exhibitions.
vii) Devolution Programme
Mupfumira said Strategy should also be underpinned by Government’s overall thrust on devolution, which will ensure restructuring operations to reach out to provinces. The Ministry should be represented at grass-root levels so that the ministry communicates its intent, stimulate and boost local participation in the sector, through a bottom up approach.