The United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) has defended its decision of holding the 20th session general assembly in Zimbabwe.
According to an SABC report, UNWTO secretary-general, Mr Taleb Rifai who was speaking to journalists on Tuesday, said the agency wanted to bring hope to Zimbabweans.
“We as the secretariat feel that it was correct and it was the right decision to come here, and if you need the reason, go walk in the streets of Livingstone and Victoria Falls. Ask the children, the men and women how do they feel about it and how much it has impacted their lives.
“It is exactly what we are here to do, we are not here to deliberate on grand issues, we can do that anywhere else in the world but the excitement, optimism and the hope, that this meeting has created in this place makes everything worthwhile,” said Mr Rifai.
In a recent interview with Chronicle, Mr Rifai also endorsed the harmonised elections saying the process was conducted in a most civil manner. The UNWTO general assembly, which is being co-hosted by Zimbabwe and Zambia, exploded into life on Saturday and ends today.
President Robert Mugabe officially opened the tourism indaba in the resort town of Victoria Falls on Sunday.
This is the first time that the assembly had been held in Southern Africa and second ever that it is being held in Africa after Senegal hosted it in 2007.
The event is a bi-annual event held on equal rotational basis among member states. Delegates from 150 countries were attending this seven-day event, the highest attendance in the history of the general assembly.
UNWTO has a membership of 155 countries, six associate members and more than 400 affiliate members representing the private sector, educational institutions, tourism associations and local tourism authorities.
Date: 29 August 2013