The Celebration Church in Zimbabwe has been designated as a religious tourism destination by Zimbabwe’s Ministry of Tourism and Hospitality.

The church becomes the second in Zimbabwe to be conferred with the status after Zion Christian Church which is based in Masvingo.

The conferment of the status coincided with the launch of Zimbabwe’s Tourism policy at the Celebration Centre in Harare on Thursday.

Celebration Church’s status as a religious tourism destination begins from August 1 this year and is valid for a period of a year under Certificate Number 0030.

Celebration Church leader, Pastor Tom Deuschle received the award on behalf of his church.

Religious tourism is also referred to as pilgrimage tourism whereby people of various religions travel individually or in groups for pilgrimage, missionary purposes, spiritual rebirth or leisure purposes.

Some religious tourist destinations in the world include Jerusalem, Mecca and Varanasi.

Tourism Minister, Walter Mzembi said they saw it befitting for a church such as the Celebration Church, with its unique conference facilities to be designated as a religious tourism destination.

He also paid tribute to the church for its innovative programmes that have also seen it venturing in the education sector as well.

“The conferment of this status to Celebration Church is part of our efforts to introduce religious tourism in the country.  The first Church to be conferred with that status was the Zion Christian Church in Masvingo and Celebration Church becomes the second to be designated a religious tourism destination.

“We feel the church can play a pivotal role in marketing tourism in Zimbabwe and on top of that it has one of the largest conference facilities in the country,” said Mzembi.