BY WINSTONE ANTONIO ENVIRONMENT, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry minister Nqobizitha Mangaliso Ndlovu said the Kore Kore Cultural Village handed over to the Makonde community on Monday would play an important role in diversifying the rural economy and achieving sustainable development. The Kore Kore Cultural Village in Mashonaland West province was funded by the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) as part of the ministry’s 100-Day projects and the handover ceremony of the village to the Makonde community was part of the World Tourism Day celebrations. In a statement, Ndlovu said the development (handover of the village) was in line with thisyear’s theme Tourism and Rural Development, which underlines the important role that tourism plays in preserving cultural and natural heritages and providing livelihoods opportunities outside urban settings “I hope the Kore Kore Cultural Village will feature prominently on the map of future tours to Chinhoyi along the triangular movement of visits to Chinhoyi Caves, and the Chinhoyi Seven Memorial Park,” he said. Ndlovu bemoaned challenges affecting tourism in Mashonaland West province. “There are challenges affecting tourism in Mashonaland West province, key among them being lack of scheduled flights to key destinations such as Kariba, poor road network and an overall decline in tourism standards due to low capacity utilisation,” he said. “I am pleased to advise that my ministry has had very fruitful discussions with key enabler ministries including the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development on how best we can improve internal access. In this regard, we are excited by the on-going work for the rehabilitation of the Beitbridge-Chirundu Highway.” Ndlovu said with unity of purpose, the task of growing the tourism sector to a US$5 billion economy was achievable. “If anything, the COVID-19 pandemic has put us to test and prove that we are stronger if we act together and not in isolation,” he said. Ndlovu said prospects for tourism rebound were on the horizon as he urged Zimbabweans at home and abroad to invest at rural service centres and position themselves for imminent growth and development.