Taleb Rifai

Taleb Rifai

Tomorrow the UNWTO General Assembly 2013 will officially open at Victoria Falls Hotel in Zimbabwe.

Zambian President Michael Sata, his Zimbabwean counterpart President Robert Mugabe and UNWTO Secretary General Taleb Rifai are expected to officially open the event in Victoria Falls town on Saturday.

Zambia’s Livingstone City and Zimbabwe’s Victoria Falls will co-host the UNWTO General Assembly from August 24 to 29, 2013.

So far, Zambia and Zimbabwe seem to be ready to host the global tourism event given the massive preparations which have been put in place in both host towns.

The two countries have agreed to issue gratis visas to official UNWTO delegates upon their arrival.

This means that official delegates to the UNWTO General Assembly will move freely from one country to another without any restriction.

Additionally, both Livingstone and Victoria Falls town have already completed erecting temporal conference structures which will house meetings and other deliberations of the meeting.

UNWTO 2013Information and Broadcasting Services Permanent Secretary Amos Malupenga told journalists in Livingstone that several measures have been put in place to enhance media coverage during the UNWTO General Assembly.

Mr Malupenga said a fully equipped media centre with at least 50 desktop computers, 20 laptop points and broadband wireless internet service will be put in place at the conference venue.

Further, the media centre will also have television monitors, information kiosk, coffee and tea services as part of facilities and logistics put in place to facilitate media coverage.

Mr Malupenga, who is chairperson of the Zambian information and publicity committee of the UNWTO at national level, also said fully a functional Press office to coordinate coverage and media accreditation would be established at the conference site.

“A media briefing room will be put to sit at least 40 people. We will also have media tours and cocktails to encourage further interaction and information exchange.

“With these and other facilities, we are confident that the media will contribute effectively to the successful co-hosting of the UNWTO General Assembly between Zambia and Zimbabwe,” Mr Malupenga said.

Side events such as cultural and arts festivals, media tours and exchange of the live televised shows between Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation and Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporations will also be organised.

Zambia’s Tourism and Arts Minister Sylvia Masebo and her Zimbabwean counterpart Walter Mzembi have since declared that the two countries are ready to host the UNWTO General Assembly.

The two host ministers were speaking to a delegation of journalists from Zambia and Zimbabwe in Livingstone and Victoria Falls respectively on Saturday during a Southern African Development Community (SADC) Day.

Fast facts about UNWTO:
Dates 24th – 29th August 2013
Opening Ceremony Victoria Falls Hotel
Closing Ceremony Sun International


UNWTO-SIDEI should mention that, arguably, more upgrading of infrastructure and branding of facilities has been done in Livingstone City compared to Victoria Falls town.

For the first time in the history of Zambia, many people have started appreciating tourism products due to the aggressive promotion of tourism and the General Assembly in the Zambian media.

Journalists especially those working in Livingstone have even gone to the grassroots to educate people on tourism, upgrading of the tourist capital and other issues of the 20th session of the General Assembly.

This year’s UNWTO General Assembly has recorded unprecedented high turnout of delegates who have registered to participate in the event compared to previous conferences.

Ms Masebo said UNWTO executive director Zoltan Somogyi congratulated her last week for attracting many countries to attend this year’s General Conference for the first time in the history of the event.

By last week, 147 out of 155 member countries had registered to participate at this year’s conference.

Mr Mzembi said both Governments were working very closely to ensure a successful hosting of the UNWTO General Assembly starting this weekend.

Mr Mzembi also said Zimbabwe was ready to host the official opening of UNWTO General Assembly at Victoria Falls Hotel on Saturday this week.

Walter Mzembi discusses UNWTO

Walter Mzembi discusses UNWTO

Mr Mzembi said Victoria Falls town was currently a cyber city in that people would be accessing internet in any part of the town.

On the other hand, both Livingstone and Victoria Falls town have reserved accommodation for delegates to the meeting.

All official hotels have well furnished rooms, hotspot internet, delicious international and local cuisines as well as entertainment and other services for delegates.

In terms of airport facilities, both Livingstone and Victoria Falls town have international airports.

Harry Mwaanga Nkumbula International Airport in Livingstone already handled the historical safe landing of a huge 747 Boeing plane carrying former United States of America (USA) President George W Bush and his wife Laura recently.

Further, the construction of a new international terminal building at Harry Mwaanga Nkumbula International Airport has been completed for use by delegates to the UNWTO General Assembly this week.

According to Transport Works, Supply and Communication minister Yamfwa Mukanga , the Zambian Government would open new terminal building this week.

In terms of electricity, Zesco has assured the nation and the world that there would be uninterrupted power supply during the UNWTO General Assembly.

Zesco senior manager for electro technical services Changala Nswana said two stand-by generators will be put in place at the conference venue to ensure uninterrupted power supply.

The Southern Water and Sewerage Company (SWASCO) has also assured of steady water supply during the occasion.

In terms of roads, the Mosi-oa-Tunya Road and other key streets in the tourist capital have already been upgraded.

Delegates interested in train rides would be using five-star experience steam train operated by Bush Tracks Africa to take them to Victoria Falls Bridge.

Other facilities such as health, security and boat cruise have already been put in place.







By: 5VictoriaFalls24

Date: 23 August 2013