visaZimbabwe and Zambia will offer free visas to delegates and visitors to the six-day United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) summit in Victoria Falls in August, it has been announced.



The two said they would also co-host the August UNWTO meeting as a “truly African event”, meant to showcase the best the continent can offer.

Briefing the African Union Commission’s Deputy Chairman, Erasmus Mwencha, at the AU’s head office in Addis Ababa on Tuesday, a joint delegation from the two countries said they had made a lot of progress towards the successful hosting of the August 24-29 event.

This will only be the second time that the summit has been held in Africa, after Senegal in 2005.  It will be co-hosted in the tourism resort town of Victoria Falls, which is on the banks of the Zambezi River shared by the two countries.

The delegation, led by Zambia’s Deputy Minister of Tourism and Arts, David Phiri, briefed AU Commission executives that the two countries had worked out a visa regime that would not frustrate travellers to the two countries for the summit.

Thousands of people are expected to throng Victoria Falls and Livingstone (on the Zambian side) for the UNWTO meeting.

Phiri says: “Realising the importance of a visa regime that will not frustrate visitors, Zimbabwe and Zambia have worked round it.  We will issue gratis visas for the delegates.”

Zimbabwe’s Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism and Hospitality, Mukahanana Sangarwe, who is part of the joint delegation to the AU – said the UNWTO summit was being branded as uniquely African event.

“We want to showcase Africa … we want people to see Africa,” she said.

Mwencha said the fact that the summit was being held in the name of Africa, was a great tribute to the continent.

Zimbabwe and Zambia see tourism as a key economic driver that will help create jobs and improve both countries’ international image.


Date: 1 May 2013