Madrid — Zimbabwe stole the limelight at the Firtur International travel and tour exposition on Saturday when hundreds of tour operators, tourist wholesalers, hoteliers, investors, business people and potential tourists gathered at the Zimbabwean stand where they danced to music, tasted Zimbabwean traditional food and beverages.
Zimbabwe is one of the 196 countries exhibiting at the Fitur - one of Europe's prime travel and tourism fairs- and is using its presence to leverage its co-hosting, with Zambia, of the United Nations World Tourism organisation General Assembly in Victoria Falls, this August.
There was an overwhelming response to the Zimbabwe-Zambia joint cocktail hosted at the Fitur when hundreds of delegates jostled for Mopane tree worms (madora in Shona and amacimbi in Ndebele) that attracted a lot of attention after they proved to be a delicacy.
The delegates also sang along and danced to Zimbabwean music.
Zimbabwe used the cocktail to officially invite the world tourism family to the 20th session of UNWTO general assembly.
Addressing delegates at the cocktail Zambian Ministry of Tourism and Arts Permanent secretary Ms Charity Mwansa said Zimbabwe and Zambia were prepared to host a memorable general assembly that will give the delegates a unique African experience.
"I take this opportunity to invite you all present to attend the UNWTO General Assembly to be co-hosted by Zimbabwe and Zambia in August this year," she said.
"What you see and experience at this cocktail is a tip of what the two countries will offer.
"A lot of other products will be on offer when you visit us."
Zimbabwe Tourism Authority chief executive Mr Karikoga Kaseke said the general assembly will not only be for Zimbabwe but for SADC and Africa as a whole.
He said the thrust of the general assembly will be fostering regional integration.
"We are ready. SADC is ready and Africa is ready to host you. We will make sure that the event will be purely African and that it will leave the African footprint on the minds of those who will participate."
Two Spaniards won seven day holidays for two, each to the Victoria Falls at a Raffle Draw held at the cocktail.
Pedro Peray and Christina Saaz of Madrid could not believe themselves when they won the holidays to go into Africa for the first time, for free courtesy of the tourism authorities in Zimbabwe and Zambia.