ZIMBABWE was elected chair of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) Commission for Africa (CAF) at the body’s meeting in Livingstone, Zambia yesterday.
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Tourism and Hospitality Industry minister, Walter Mzembi said Zimbabwe was nominated by Tunisia and seconded by Algeria opening the floodgates of endorsements.
Mzembi said the election of Zimbabwe to chair CAF was a vote of confidence in the country’s leadership and diplomatic skills in the tourism sector “demonstrated during executive membership of the UNWTO in the last four years”.
“It’s a global endorsement of brand Zimbabwe,” he said.
CAF’s role is to ensure the implementation of UNWTO’s General Programme of Work within the region. It also serves as UNWTO’s direct channel through which the national, regional and local tourism development needs and concerns of the member states are communicated to the secretariat.
The election of Zimbabwe comes barely 48 hours before the country assumes the co-presidency with Zambia of the 20th session of the UNWTO General Assembly for the next two years.
The co-presidency will be confirmed when the first plenary session of the General Assembly convenes tomorrow.
The General Assembly opened yesterday and is co-hosted by Zimbabwe and Zambia in Victoria Falls and Livingstone respectively.
At yesterday’s 55th meeting, the 49-member country CAF endorsed the chairmanship of Zimbabwe for the next two years.
Uganda and Senegal were nominated and elected to deputise Zimbabwe.
Mozambique, Mali and Ethiopia were elected into the body’s credential committee. Tunisia, Senegal, Angola and South Africa were nominated to the executive council. The quartet needs approval by the 96th executive meeting and the General Assembly. Mozambique was nominated to the committee for the review of the application of affiliate members.
Meanwhile, delegates to the 20th session of the UNWTO General Assembly were treated to a rare occasion when they converged at the bridge linking Zimbabwe to Zambia to watch the sunset on Friday.
Commenting on the occasion, Steward Bank executive Lance Mambondiani said the conference would help the country to engage the international community.