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UNWTO hosts get official carriers

ZIMBABWE and Zambia have received positive responses from six airlines to become partner carriers for the 20th session of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) meeting in August.

BY NDAMU SANDU

Zimbabwe and Zambia co-host the UNWTO General Assembly meeting in Victoria Falls and Livingstone respectively from August 24 to 29.

The move to engage partner airlines comes from the absence of players in both countries that could assume the role of official carriers.

The permanent secretary in the Ministry of Tourism and Hospitality Industry, Margaret Sangarwe, told Standardbusiness that the co-hosts had approached South African Airways, Kenya Airways, Ethiopian, British Airways, KLM and Emirates to become partner airlines.

“We have approached them [the carriers] to become partner airlines and to offer discounts to people coming for the general assembly and we have had a positive response from all of them,” Sangarwe said.

An official carrier would fly into the UNWTO member countries either by themselves or through partnerships.

The UNWTO General Assembly in Victoria Falls and Livingstone is seen as Africa’s tourism World Cup.

Authorities in both countries have already admitted that as an event the UNWTO meeting would not bring the desired benefits but hope capitalise on the successful hosting of the event.

While Zambia has allocated funds for preparations, the situation is different for Zimbabwe as infighting in the inclusive government poses a serious threat to the co-hosting of a successful meeting.

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