CHURCHES will soon develop centres of excellence in the country to boost religious tourism, a government official has said.
Speaking at the launch of Council for Churches in Africa (CCA) in Bulawayo yesterday, Provincial Affairs minister Judith Ncube said the government was prioritising the expansion of religious tourism in the country.
“Religious tourism is, therefore, a contribution in our country’s gross domestic product (GDP) as several congregants and tourists flock into the country for pilgrimage. This has, therefore, been made possible as we have confidence that the CCA will tirelessly drive that since it is a body with local, regional and international links where fellowship will contribute to our local businesses during major church festivities, such as Easter,” Ncube said.
“I am honoured that my province has been the first destination for the inaugural CCA launch in Zimbabwe. We recognise the organisation for its people-oriented approach in empowering local churches which resonates well with the provisions of devolution.”
In 2015, the United Nations World Tourism Barometer states that religious tourism moves over 300 million people out of 1.2 billion tourists across the globe annually.
The minister, however, further noted that churches should be mandated to participate in development of their localities through cultivating cordial relations with the government.
“We are certain that this will spread to other provinces as it has been done in other countries in Africa.”
Meanwhile, speaking at the same event CCA president and founder member Rocky Moyo said one of their missions was to address the now common issue of splits in churches.
“We have a plan already in place to put everybody together, so that we can avoid splits in churches. Of course we won’t totally eradicate splits, because people come to church for different reasons.
“We founded this organisation with the purpose of uniting Christians and politicians in Africa. We can’t speak of uniting politicians when we are divided as a church,” Moyo said.
The newly formed Council of Churches in Africa has over 500 affiliate member churches in African countries. Yesterday’s event had delegates coming across African countries.