From Martin Kadzere in Brasilia, Brazil
Monday, 15 August 2011
BRAZIL will lobby support for Zimbabwe and Zambia’s bid to co-host the United Nations World Tourism Organisation General Assembly in 2013, Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister Walter Mzembi has said.
Speaking soon after meeting his Brazilian counterpart here, Mr Novias Pedro, Minister Mzembi said the support from the South American nations had boosted the two Southern African nations’ chances of hosting the world’s biggest tourism summit.
The meeting was part of the ongoing deliberations between Zimbabwe and Brazil, where the former is seeking to enhance trade and investment partnerships with South America’s biggest economy.
It is being spearheaded by Vice President Mujuru’s office. If the bid is approved, the 20th Session of the 186-member UNWTO will be held in Victoria Falls.
“Minister Pedro has assured that Brazil and South American nations will vote for Zimbabwe and Zambia,” said Minister Mzembi. “This clearly shows the cordial relationship between Brazil and African countries.”
As the economic powerhouse in South America, Brazil can use its influence to win support for Zimbabwe and Zambia. Russia, Jordan and Turkey are also bidding to host the summit.
Minister Mzembi unveiled Zimbabwe’s tourism brand called “Zimbabwe: A World of Wonders”, and also appealed to Sadc diplomats who attended the ceremony to throw their weight behind the bid by the two nations.
Sadc envoys from Angola, Tanzania, Botswana, Zambia, Mozambique and Malawi attended the unveiling ceremony organised by the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority.
Vice President Mujuru is expected to officially launch the brand in Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro this week.
“I am appealing to Sadc ambassadors to extend the lobby for Zimbabwe and Zambia . . . I am sure that you can use your influence. Our Presidents (Cde Mugabe and Rupiah Banda) have endorsed the event, so we really need your support,” he said.
Zimbabwe and its northern neighbour will come up with a lobby strategy to garner support from the UNWTO member states ahead of the announcement of the 2013 host at a ceremony in South Korea in early October.
Delegates to the General Assembly are drawn from the six regional commissions of the UNWTO from Africa, the Americas, East and Pacific Europe, the Middle East and South Asia.
Hosting of the event in Victoria Falls town is critical, as it will help the two countries to market the Falls to the whole world. It will attract at least 1 000 delegates worldwide.
Recently, Zambia’s Tourism, Environment and Natural Resources Permanent Secretary Mr Peter Mumba said the two countries were optimistic of winning the bid as many delegates would be interested in visiting the Victoria Falls, a National Heritage Site and one of the Seven Wonders of the World.
“We are working very hard to host the UNWTO General Assembly in 2013 because the hosting of this event will mean a lot to the two countries and the entire Africa in terms of tourism promotion,” he said.
“In terms of the proposed budget to host the event, we are still working on it and so far we have reached an advanced stage,” he said.
He also urged the media to support the joint efforts by Zimbabwe and Zambia.