“Land reform” to be packaged into tourism plans by Zimbabwe

Published on : Sunday, October 13, 2013

indexZimbabwe’s tourism minister said, the country will package its “land reform” into tourism plans by making the tour to selected black-owned farms a unique excursion experience for foreign visitors.Walter Mzembi, minister of tourism and hospitality industry, told a press briefing that the tourism authorities are in the process of identifying 100 farms near the country’s major cities and towns as “agri-tourism” sites, aimed at attracting foreign tourists tired of cities.

“They don’t come here to look at city building because they get better buildings in Chicago, in New York, in London,” Mzembi said. “When they come, they want to experience the bush, the biodiversity, and productivity of the farms.”Zimbabwe is home to one of the world’s most spectacular waterfalls — the Victoria Falls, but foreign tourists usually jet in and out of the resort waterfalls town from Johannesburg of South Africa, skipping the rest of Zimbabwe including the capital city of Harare.

Mzembi, who moans that foreign tourists have few options for visit while in cities like Harare, encouraged major hotel groups and tour operators to incorporate the farm tours into excursions, and he said the tour will show “how successful the land reform has been.”Zimbabwe started to purchase white-owned lands through a compensation scheme funded by Britain after the black majority-rule government was established in 1980. Controversy arose in the early 2000′s when the British froze the funding but the Zimbabwean government decided to carry on the land re-allocation in a bid to correct the colonial wrongs.

As a result of the land reform that had completed, about 245,000 black farmers now own the farms occupied by a few thousand white commercial farmers.Despite overseas criticism saying the farms were idle after being re-allocated, the government maintains that black farmers achieved the same productivity as

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