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TOURISM minister Walter Mzembi says his proposal to bid for the 2034 Fifa World Cup was real as he is not a dreamer but an engineer who analysed numbers before speaking.

Mzembi defended his bid during a preview press conference in Harare of the tourism policy launch held yesterday. He added that his vision 2020 was for the Tourism ministry to sponsor itself at $5 billion per annum and also sponsor government.

"For this to be achieved, the country has to first boost revenue from tourism by increasing the number of arrivals in the country. We should strategically loosen visa requirements to open the country to more tourists," he said.

Mzembi turned to God and referred to Isaiah 60:11: "Therefore thy gates shall be open continually; they shall not be shut day nor night; that men may bring unto thee the forces of the Gentiles, and that their kings may be brought."

He urged the government to open its gates so as to enjoy the wealth of other nations. "We have to ease the Visa regime, looking at the Brics (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) as growth models."

Mzembi said Zimbabwe might be losing out on potential tourists because of its visa requirements, and the delay in the Southern Africa Development Community (Sadc) Univisa.

He said he had spoken with the Chinese executive to promote Zimbabwe as a worthwhile destination for the Chinese who are spending billions in other countries.

"Tourism can get $7 billion out of China’s outbound travellers if we get them to come here," he said.

The Tourism minister said his ministry wants to tap in into religious tourism like Nigeria. His ministry was also planning to boost the lifestyle of civil servants by offering them holiday packages as condition of service.

"What I want to see is for every civil service family going on holiday, we have now referred the plan to the employer," he said.

The firebrand minister said he had also engaged parks and wildlife, so that government workers can utilise some of the 700 beds that were not being utilised.

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