Business Development Tourism Travel

Japan supports Zimbabwe in promoting community-based tourism

Delegates at the Japan and Zimbabwe Community-based Tourism Seminar

The Government of Japan through the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) supported Zimbabwe to facilitate community participation in tourism mainstreaming, ensuring no one is left behind.

Community-Based Tourism (CBT) ensures that local communities have full ownership and management of the tourism experience so that the economic benefits of tourism stay within their community.

As part of efforts to promote sustainable tourism, the Secretary for Environment, Climate, Tourism, and Hospitality Industry Ambassador Raphael Tayerera Faranisi officiated at a Community-based tourism Seminar at Holiday Inn Hotel in Harare on Wednesday.
“CBT has multiple benefits. It allows tourists to experience another side of Zimbabwe, that is much richer and deeper than simply seeing a tourist site. It allows them to interact with members of the community, experience their fascinating art and culture, and learn their rich history, while at the same time appreciating the beautiful natural surroundings. And for the communities, it not only provides economic and employment opportunities but also allows them to preserve their natural and cultural heritage,” Ambassador Faranisi said.
The JICA supported the Ministry with technical assistance towards the resuscitation of CBTs from 2015 up to 2017. The project was themed Master Plan targeting poverty alleviation. The JICA consultants brought in experiences from Japan with regard to townscape preservation, and community development, referencing the Japanese CBT model.
This resulted in the identification of 4 CBTEs pilot projects for support namely, Chesvingo Karanga Village in Masvingo, Gairezi Eco-tourism in Manicaland, Tengenenge Art and Craft Centre in Mashonaland Central and Bulawayo Township Tour in Bulawayo.
The technical assistance from JICA enabled the development of a CBT Manual which is meant to equip Government and tourism-related development organisations. This came together with a simplified CBT Handbook that can be used by communities as a basic referral guideline on how to start and sustain a CBT Enterprise.
To further strengthen the CBTs the Ministry further requested from JICA technical assistance on Tourism Promotion and Marketing in 2019 as a follow-up on the 4 pilot projects which were part of the first project. JICA dispatched a tourism expert and the project was scheduled for 2020 but due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the implementation of the project commenced in April 2021 and is expected to end in March 2023.
The Japanese Ambassador His Excellency Tanaka Satoshi thanked the Ministry and JICA for enthusiastically working together on this important project.
The Seminar was also attended by the Chief Director for Tourism and Hospitality Management Mrs. T. Musonza, Tourism Business Council of Zimbabwe President Mr. W. Nhau, representatives from CAMPFIRE, ZTA, Zimparks, Forestry Commission, key stakeholders, and other invited guests.

About the author

Byron Adonis Mutingwende