If you want to see the backside of the Victoria Falls go to Zambia, if you want to see the front side go to Zimbabwe, if you want a full view go to both sides, remarked one tourist recently. This aptly captures the reason why Zimbabwe and Zambia are co-hosting the 20th session of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation General Assembly at the Victoria Falls in August next year.
To this effect, Zimbabwe, Zambia and UNWTO signed a Trilateral Host Agreement in Victoria Falls this week, marking the official countdown to the General Assembly slated for August 13-20 2013.
This is the first time that the UNWTO general assembly will be held in southern Africa and the second ever time it is being held on African soil after Senegal did so at its inauguration in 2007.
Given that UNWTO general assembly is held once every two years and the organisation has 176 member countries, everything else being equal and fairness being applied, Zimbabwe might never host this mega event for the next 350 years.
We could be the luckiest generation in terms of UNWTO general assembly hosting. This is a mega event other generations might never host.
This is therefore, our chance to showcase Zimbabwe's tourism tapestries and to redefine ourselves as one of Africa and the world's most attractive tourist destinations.
Of critical importance to Zimbabwe in particular, is the fact that the co-hosting of the UNWTO assembly comes hard on the heels of the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority having rebranded the country from "Zimbabwe, Africa's Paradise" to "Zimbabwe a World of Wonders".
The co-hosting is therefore, crucial brand endorsement.
By holding the general assembly here, UNWTO will have signed a lifelong signature, endorsing Zimbabwe as a destination of choice for any discerning tourist.
Tourism is one of the four pillars of the country's economic recovery programme.
It also comes at a time when Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister Walter Mzembi, has been voted into the UNWTO Executive Council and elected president of the United States-based Africa Travel Association, making Zimbabwe a vital cog in the engine driving world tourism.
It is, however, critical for Zimbabwe to note that we have only one hand to the hosting since many other rich countries like Qatar, Jordan and Russia who lost the bid to host, are waiting for administrative slip ups and they will take over.
By that token it means Zimbabwe must definitely play its politics right. With a pending election, our ability to proceed to host the UNWTO assembly will depend on how we handle our plebiscite.
If possible, it is better we hold elections this year and enter 2013 more united and solid as a country.
We therefore need to manage our politics and strike a balance with the need to host UNWTO and have the all-important endorsement for our country that has been incorrectly labelled a rogue state by its detractors.
We certainly need this kind of international endorsement, so let us put our act together.
Now that both hosting governments have endorsed the assembly at the highest level, we expect preparatory work to be speeded up. On paper the teams know what needs to be done and now we expect them to start doing it.
A joint bid is always a challenge given the need to get the two countries to move at the same pace and in the same direction. Unity of spirit and purpose becomes paramount.
From a distance, it looks like there is good rapport between the two ministers and we need to see that cascading down to the lower levels.
This is our chance to shine; let us take advantage.