FORMER Miss Tourism Zimbabwe, Rumbidzai Mudzengerere has been elected president of the Africa Travel Association Young Professionals Programme Global. The announcement was made recently by ATA in New York. The election comes weeks after the ATA Young Professionals Africa Round Table that was held in New York, where the former beauty queen was also a panelist.
Commenting on this development, an elated Mudzengerere who is a marketing executive with the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority said she feels honoured and excited to take up the new role which is international in scope.
"I feel greatly honoured. I know it demands a lot of hard work because the focus now is on young people across the continent of Africa and helping them to grow tourism in their countries. This also entails advancing tourism promotion at such grand levels. I
"I am excited to be given the opportunity to work with other young professionals from Africa and from USA, and I promise that during my tenure we will bridge the gap between Africa and the USA. I feel proud to be a Zimbabwean and to hold this office. As John F. Kennedy said, "Ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country," said Mudzengerere.
In his congratulatory message to Mudzengerere, ZTA chief executive, Mr Karikoga Kaseke said he never doubted the potential of the Zimbabwean girl child saying there is now need to tap into the talents and skills of the youths for the benefit of the country.
"Her achievements to date speak volumes of her potentials and we are ready to work with her from a tourism perspective so that she can fully realise her dreams which I am convinced are also good for the country," said Mr Kaseke.
The ATA's Young Professionals Programme aims to engage tourism and hospitality students and young industry professionals in Africa's tourism industry and to cultivate future ATA membership. To achieve this mission, YPP offers two programmes that serve young people at different points in their education and professional development that is ATA Student Union and ATA Young Professionals Network.
Through these two programmes, YPP aims to help future industry leaders gain access to tourism professionals focusing on Africa in order to help them build the relationships and networks. It encourages the exchange of knowledge, ideas and interests by providing opportunities for training and travel to Destination Africa, YPP also connects a new generation to ATA and its members who are accomplished tourism professionals. The term of office for the newly appointed ATA Young Professionals board members is 2 years.
Zimbabwe has three representatives in the executive board, Ms Rejoice Chisamba who will deputise Ms Mudzengerere and Mr Stewart Mtizwa who comes in as the treasurer. Other executive board members are Assan Njie from the Gambia who is the Secretary, and Eyong Ayuk from Cameroon who is the second vice president.
The board consists of non-executive board members, Ms Kim Marie Clair Umutesi from Rwanda, Mr Damas Mutogoma from Rwanda, Mr Ibrahim Mbacke from Senegal, Mr Dominic Tolbert from USA, Mr Roni Weiss from USA and Ms Carmen Fells from USA.
Ms Mudzengerere became part of the ATA Young Professionals Program through the successful hosting of the ATA General Assembly in Victoria Falls in May this year by the ZTA after she moderated the YPP session.
From then, she has been a facilitator on various programmes involving the Zimbabwean Chapter.