The Herald (Harare)

1 February 2013

Zimbabwe: Zim, Zambia Agree On UNWTO Programme

Zimbabwe, Zambia and the United Nations World Tourism Organisation have agreed on the final programme for the 2013 UNWTO general assembly slated for Victoria Falls in August. The general assembly with run from August 24 to 29 and this will be the second time it will be held in Africa after Senegal hosted it in 2007.

Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister Walter Mzembi and his Zambian counterpart, Ms Sylvia Masebo, met UNWTO secretary general Mr Talib Rifai at the organisation's headquarters in Madrid, Spain, on Tuesday night, together with technocrats from the two countries.

"All is set for Victoria Falls. We have smoothened the rough edges of the programme and sorted out some operational challenges. So, we have agreed on the final programme for Victoria Falls.

"It was critical that we meet and smoothen the rough edges.

"So, we are now ready and prepared for the event," said Minister Mzembi after the meeting.

His Zambian counterpart said they had also assured the UNWTO family that everything was in order.

"The tripartite meeting was meant to tie to loose ends on the programme for the assembly that we are co-hosting. We are coming towards the D-day so we needed to iron out some issues and we have just done that.

"We are now fully resourced and prepared to host the event.

"Everything is in order but we also need to keep guiding our technocrats. We are well resourced," said Ms Masebo.

Zimbabwe and Zambia are co-hosting 20th session of the general assembly which runs from August 24 to 29 and is expected to bring about 2 000 delegates among them tourism ministers from the 186 UNWTO member states, supporting staff, investors and international tourist wholesalers.

Zimbabwe and Zambia had initially come up with a proposed programme for the mega event but UNWTO wanted some amendments done to the programme in line with past experiences.

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