By Daniel Chigundu
ENVIRONMENT, Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister Prisca Mupfumira has met with UN Resident Coordinator Bishow Parajuli to discuss tourism and environmental development issues.
There has been growing global concern over the effects of tourism on the environment especially in countries were tourism centres of infrastructure are being built in wetlands, water and national parks among many others.
Tourism relies heavily on the environment for its success while the latter depends on tourism for its sustainability.
In a statement after the meeting, Minister Mupfumira applauded the United Nations family for supporting Zimbabwe’s initiatives in terms of environmental management.
“We continue to thank them and I know with good communication and collaboration we are poised for greater things with the family and we want to continue to say stay with us, support us in our various initiatives which include empowering local communities so that they also benefit from natural God-given resources.
“We were talking about wildlife and people, we were talking about the clean cities and we rely on their expertise and I am sure we will get somewhere with them,” she said.
Minister Mupfumira also took the opportunity to urge the United Nations to also promote the country’s tourism sector
Speaking at the same occasion, the UN Resident Coordinator said Zimbabwe has an opportunity to benefit from its tourist sector like what other countries are doing.
“…One good part of our conversation was how we can promote the environment, how do we promote biodiversity how do we promote wildlife and at the same time increase livelihood and job opportunities and to really enhance tourism in Zimbabwe.
“I would say other than agriculture and minerals there is really an untapped economic sector which is tourism, many countries, I have lived in for example Egypt the economy is hugely dependent on tourism, my own country Nepal we are really promoting tourism they can really be an engine for economic growth in terms of jobs, foreign currency earning and multiple sectors also benefit from that,” he said.
Mr Parajuli added that Zimbabwe can benefit from its positive image of a peaceful and safe destination, its hospitable people and the ability to speak English by most of the people.
He said roads are fine across the country and that it is very safe and that it is what tourists look for in a destination.
The Resident Coordinator, however, called on the government to do more in terms of opening the tourism sector