21 January 2013

Zambia: UNWTO Inspectors Happy With General Assembly Preps

INSPECTORS from the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) secretariat in Spain are happy with the level of Zambia and Zimbabwe's preparations to co-host the general assembly in August this year.

UNWTO chief of conferences Munir Rayes said his team was happy with the preparations in both countries.

Mr Rayes said his delegation would be coming back to conduct another inspection before the five-day general assembly which starts on August 24.

He was speaking at a media briefing in Livingstone at the weekend after his delegation concluded inspecting facilities in Zambia's tourist capital as well as Victoria Falls town in Zimbabwe.

Tourism and Arts Permanent Secretary Charity Mwansa and Southern Province Permanent Secretary Chileshe Mulenga attended the briefing.

The visit was meant to review the progress made towards hosting of the general assembly.

"We are happy with the preparations in the two countries and we will be coming back to have one more inspection before the UNWTO general assembly.

"We found renewed and continued commitment from both the Government and private sector to ensuring the successful hosting of the general assembly," Mr Rayes said.

His delegation was equally impressed with the levels of coordination in the preparations.

"Tourism attractions are there on both sides but I think we need to keep on improving some areas," he said.

In March and August last year, the UNWTO inspectors from Spain conducted similar inspections in Livingstone and Victoria Falls town.

Zambia and Zimbabwe are expecting a maximum of 4,000 participants from more than 180 member-States, affiliate and associate members of the UNWTO, the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), and the general travelling public.

The two countries have so far agreed to share the costs of co-hosting on 50/50 basis, which means that each country would host about 2, 000 delegates.

Meanwhile, the Zambia Tourism Board (ZTB) has invited tourists from Finland to visit Zambia and sample the country's vast tourism products.

ZTB marketing director Mato Shimabale told Finnish tourists at the weekend that Zambia was an alternative and exciting tourist destination because of huge tourism products on offer.

Mr Shimabale was speaking at the weekend in Finland in an interview with the Finnish Broadcasting Corporation.

This is according to a media statement released yesterday by the ZTB delegation which was currently promoting Zambia's tourism in Finland.

And ZTB has participated in this year's Matka Travel Fair in Helsinki, Finland, which is the biggest travel fair in northern Europe attracting more than 80 countries.

This year's show attracted 75,000 visitors seeking holiday destinations.

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