From : Allafrica.com
9 November 2012
WHEN I travelled to South Korea as part of the Zimbabwean delegation in October 2011, the main agenda was to win the bid to co-host, with Zambia, the United Nations World Tourism Organisation 2013 general assembly. The bid was won. In the aftermath of winning of the bid, so many Zimbabweans have been debating about this and that issue from a very uninformed position.
It is indeed unfortunate that many Zimbabweans thought the winning of the bid entailed the construction of massive structures in the Victoria Falls and turning the tourist resort into some Hollywood. NO!
After the five-day UNWTO mega event, the Victoria Falls must maintain is prepubescent state as an African tourist resort in the centre of a jungle. That is what makes it unique.
In fact what has made Victoria Falls remain on the drawing cards of many international tourists is the fact that if David Livingstone and our foregone ancestors were to wake up today, they would easily find their way around Victoria Falls, centuries after their death.
Misconception about new infrastructure should be cleared because Zimbabwe did not win the bid to co-host the general assembly with Zambia on the pretext of non-available infrastructure, yet to be constructed.
It was based on a marquee erected on the lush green lawns of the golf course at Elephant Hills Hotel.
Any other additional mega infrastructure like a conference centre constructed by Zimbabwe will be mere signature to remind people of the event, in years to come.
The real issues on hosting the UNWTO are administrative. Zimbabwe Tourism Authority chief executive Karikoga Kaseke and Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister have not made it a secret that they would have wanted a convention centre constructed in Victoria Falls, the land of which, they were allocated by the municipality.
They have both alluded to the fact that time is not on our side for the signature buildings and that even if construction would start today, it would not complete ahead of schedule but that the structure would be useful to generations to come.
Zimbabwe will not fail to co-host the vent based on the absence of a convention centre. That will not happen.
At the moment the greatest challenges facing Mr Kaseke and Minister Mzembi are visa regimes, connectivity logistics, cohesion with Zambia and plastic money services, among other administrative issues.
They also have people’s attitudes to deal with because we have so many retrogressive Zimbabweans who wish we should fail to host the UNWTO assembly. Whatever they benefit from a national failure is yet to be seen.
Under normal circumstance, Zimbabweans in their broad totality should rally behind such a mega event but because of who we are, some of our own sons and daughters are moving in the opposite direction.
Today, I tried to write in the simplest of all English, in an attempt to explain what it is all about.
In any family set up, when you expect a very special guest and you still have time before the visitor comes, one of the things you do is look around and see if everything is inorder.
You may or may not build a new structure, specifically for the visit but resources permitting, you may put up one structure or more to please the visitor.
It is not mandatory for us to build a convention centre and with less about 300 days left, it is shocking that there are some people who still claim that we must construct a convention centre and complete it before the event. All they seek to do, it let us start the construction work and fail to complete, then they find issues to pin us down. Unfortunately, we have become are a nation that so much loves failing.