The Mauritian President undertook to secure his government’s support for what is being increasingly viewed as an “African” bid in a discussion with Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister, Engineer Walter Mzembi, on the sidelines of the China-Africa Investment Forum in Hangzhou, China.
President Mugabe and his former Zambian counterpart, Rupiah Banda, as well as the SADC Ministers of Tourism have already put their weight behind the bid.
Minister Mzembi will next week travel to Zambia to brief the recently elected President of Zambia, Comrade Michael Sata and his administration. The two co-hosting countries are expected to share the honour as well as the costs of hosting the General Assembly. Mzembi is also the current Sub Saharan representative on the Executive Council of the UNWTO.
However the hosting of the Assembly at the Victoria Falls will doubtlessly, in the medium and long term, benefit the whole of the Southern African region. In this regard an accent will be put on the promotion of regionally integrated products like the Great Limpopo Trans-frontier Conservation Area (GLTC) and the Kavango-Zambezi Trans-frontier Conservation Area (KAZATLCA) before, during and after the 2013 General Assembly.
Minister Mzembi will visit Zambia en-route to Gyeongju in the Republic of Korea, where the bid will be considered for adoption by the whole General Assembly. Prior to that he would have met his South African counterpart, Minister Marthinus Van Schalkwyk, who is influential in the BRICS and Top 20 (T20) Tourism Economies a G20 tourism equivalent body.
Other countries vying for the honor to host the mega-event include Russia, Turkey, Jordan, and Qatar. It is widely expected that the Zimbabwe/Zambia bid will win the day in Gyeongju.