THE United States of America (US) has invited a delegation of Zambian officials to a one-week exchange programme to equip them with skills ahead of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) general assembly to be held in August.
The exchange programme would tackle diplomatic concerns and other international logistics in global conference management and creative use of space in conference management.
Other programmes to be covered are planning a large conference in a smaller city, and creating multilateral partnerships in promoting tourism and economic development, public relations, publicity and branding.
Tourism and Arts Deputy Minister David Phiri, Zambia Tourism Board (ZTB) chief executive Felix Chaila and Livingstone Town Clerk Vivian Chikoti are among officials in the delegation.
Others are Southern Province regional tourism development coordinator Harold Mweene, chief regional planning coordinator Linda Siwale and UNWTO task force arts and culture committee representative Annie Nyirenda.
US Embassy public affairs officer Priscilla Hernandez said the delegation would be in Washington DC, New York, Philadelphia and Pennsylvania from January 7 to 15, 2013.
The exchange programme is dubbed 'Managing a global conference'.
Ms Hernandez said the programme was in anticipation of Zambia co-hosting the 20th session of the UNWTO general assembly with Zimbabwe.
She said the opportunity evolved out of discussions during US assistant secretary for educational and cultural affairs Ann Stock's recent visit to Zambia.
And Mr Phiri said the US Government's gesture was a sign of the good relations between Zambia and the world's largest economy.
The deputy minister was hopeful that the experience from the programme would greatly help in co-hosting of the general assembly.
And Mr Phiri said Zambia was ready to co-host the event as a lot of work such as infrastructure development had been done while other projects were also running.
"I can confirm to you that yes, as Zambia, we are ready because we have put everything that is required in order to host this conference in place," he said.
Mr Chaila said ZTB had signed contracts worth KR3.5 million to run from January to June this year with Cable News Network (CNN), British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), SuperSport and Trip Adviser to advertise Zambia's tourism.
Mr Chaila said also that during that period, ZTB seeks to advertise Zambia's tourism potential in 52 US airports at arrival and departure lounges.