ZAMBIA and Zimbabwe are on course with preparations to co-host the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) general assembly next year.
Zimbabwe's Tourism and Hospitality Minister Walter Mzembi said resolutions of the 94th UNWTO held in Mexico recently indicated that the two neighbouring countries were on course to co-host the international showpiece.
Meanwhile, Zambia's Tourism and Arts Minister Sylvia Masebo said the Statutory Instrument issued recently to waive tax on imported tourism goods and articles had improved the quality of service in the tourism industry in Zambia.
The two ministers were speaking in Lusaka yesterday during a second joint ministerial meeting ahead of the general assembly scheduled for August.
Mr Mzembi, who led a joint delegation during the 94th session of the UNWTO executive council, resolved that the level of preparedness by the two countries to co-host the general assembly was excellent.
"I am happy to report to you that the resolution of this meeting is that we are on track, and there is a statement of confidence in both Zambia and Zimbabwe's level of preparedness," he said.
He said the UNWTO executive council meeting scheduled for Serbia in May 2013 would be the last to be held outside the venue for the 2013 general assembly.
Mr Mzembi commended the Zambian Government for introducing a Statutory Instrument that waives duty for the importation of capital goods and others directly associated with the tourism industry.
Ms Masebo, on the other hand, said the Statutory Instrument was aimed at improving service delivery in the tourism industry.
The Zambian Government, she said, would ensure maximum benefits accrue from the industry such as the creation of employment and the generation of foreign exchange.
Ms Masebo called for accelerated efforts in the two countries as the date of the general assembly draws closer.
She said the second joint ministerial meeting in Lusaka was a measure of the levels of preparedness to co-host next year's general assembly.