PREPARATIONS for the sixth session of the Africa Regional Forum on Sustainable Development (AFRFSD) set for Victoria Falls next week are at an advanced stage with gazebo tents having already been pitched on the grounds of the Elephant Hills Hotel while most hotels are fully booked ahead of the mega event.
UN security personnel are already on the ground protecting the venue and the tents.
Hoteliers said occupancy was high, and will take the opportunity to market "Brand Zimbabwe" during the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (Uneca) event, which runs from Monday to Thursday.
The Bulawayo-Victoria Falls highway was a hive of activity yesterday as some of the organisers and guests drove to the venue.
Hospitality Association of Zimbabwe Authority (HAZ) chairman Victoria Falls chapter, Mr Anald Musonza, told The Herald that they were ready to host the visitors.
"As the Hospitality Association of Zimbabwe, we are excited to be hosting the Uneca conference as it gives us an opportunity to showcase Brand Zimbabwe to the whole world," he said.
"All delegates coming should expect the best of Zimbabwean hospitality from all stakeholders in our industry -- from taxi drivers, curio vendors, restaurants,; lodges and hotels within Victoria Falls and the Hwange area.
"Most hotels and lodges have reported very high occupancies and this will also feed into the activities that are offered here."
Mr Musonza said the Uneca event was coming at a time when the mighty Victoria Falls was at its best, with millions of gallons of water flowing, following the rains that have been falling in the upper Zambezi catchment area where most of the water in the Zambezi River originates.
"What a time to showcase this UNESCO Heritage Site that we are privileged to be custodians of on behalf of the whole world.
"We welcome all our visitors to our beautiful and peaceful country and assure all our visitors to leave as our best ambassadors for Brand Zimbabwe," said Mr Musonza.
Hosting a successful Uneca is expected to boost President Mnangagwa's re-engagement drive, which has gathered pace.
The conference will review progress made by the continent in implementing and monitoring the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
It will be a high-level indaba compared to the previous five editions as, for first time, all the SDGs will be discussed in one meeting.
Each member state is expected to send at least two ministers.
An advance team of organisers recently arrived in the resort town to prepare for the annual high-level ministerial forum.
About 1 400 delegates from Africa and beyond are expected to attend