By Daniel Namwini
Government has said there was potential for cultural heritage to contribute tremendously development to the countyr’s tourism industry.
Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture, Francis Phiso said this on Wednesday when he visited Chentchelere and Mphunzi rock art at Chongoni world heritage sites in Dedza.
He emphasized on the need for the country to enhance and protect cultural heritage sites as one way of attracting tourists thereby generating more forex.
“This can happen if adequate funding is set aside to develop, manage and market the cultural industry,” Phiso viewed.
The Minister added that inadequate funding for conservation and development of the cultural industry, poor site presentation and interpretation are some of challenges that are affects the development of the country.
Ambassador of Egypt, Hassan Phawky said the cultural heritage sites are protected areas which need to be treasured if the country is to advance in the promotion of tourism thereby generating the much needed forex earnings.
“We should preserve the paintings for future children to see. It is a treasure to the country and we will do everything to make sure that we do not lose the paintings,” he said.
Director of Museums and Monuments, Dr Elizabeth Gomani said Chongoni rock art was declared a world heritage site in 2006 due to its unique red rock paintings that are there.
“The heritage site which has 127 protected recorded sites within its core and buffer zone is protected under the Geneva Convention. In some instances, the community members are not willing to develop their sites for tourism purposes for fear of losing the integrity and authenticity of the site,” she said.
Gomani pointed out that most sites lack visitor information centres, visitor facilities like toilets, and signage including poor visitor management.
She pointed out that number of people allowed to tour a site has to match with the carrying capacity of the site otherwise the site will be affected negatively.
“The tour guides have to ensure that they provide the accurate guidelines and information to the tourists before the tour starts. This is mostly compromised because most of the tour guides have not been trained,” the director noted.-MANA