21 December 2012

Zimbabwe: Nation Yet to Decide On Official Carrier for UNWTO

The Government is yet to secure an airline to be the official carrier for the United Nations World Tourism Organisation General Assembly to be held next year, a Cabinet minister has said. Zimbabwe won the bid to co-host the biennial global tourism event with Zambia in August next year.

The country is required to have an official airline which will fly directly into the country from major world cities as well as service key domestic routes for the convenience of delegates that are expected to attend.

Government had announced that it would source an alternative official carrier for the event since the national airline, Air Zimbabwe, is struggling.

Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister Walter Mzembi told a media briefing that the Government was still discussing with various airlines.

"We have not secured an official carrier as yet because there is a cost that comes with it but discussions are still ongoing with various airlines including South African Airways, Emirates and Kenyan Airways," he said.

Minister Mzembi decried the continued failure by Air Zimbabwe to service both domestic and international routes on a regular basis.

He said Air Zimbabwe was a critical enabler of the country's tourism industry and efforts should be intensified to restore its viability.

Meanwhile, the occasion also saw the release of two songs promoting the Victoria Falls aimed at increasing publicity of the event to be held in the resort town.

Renowned poet Albert Nyathi and Dereck Mpofu did the songs, titled "Victoria Falls Aweyo" and "The Wonder".

"The release of the songs marks the beginning of a campaign to give maximum publicity to the forthcoming General Assembly and position it in the mindset of the general public as the important event that it is," said Minister Mzembi.

He said the ministry had also lined up various events to create the necessary hype ahead of the event including the Victoria Falls carnival set for December 28 to 31.

New Ziana

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