The Regional Tourism Organisation of Southern Africa (Retosa) may soon be integrated into the SADC secretariat as a full directorate should the upcoming SADC summit approve the proposal.
The next SADC summit is scheduled for August this year and will be hosted by Zimbabwe in Victoria Falls.
A communiqué highlighting details of a meeting between tourism officials from Zimbabwe and Angola said it was agreed that the current Retosa secretariat continue to do their work and shall transfer to the SADC secretariat as a transitional mechanism.
This will be done in order to transform the organisation by way of re-integration into the SADC secretariat as a fully-fledged directorate once the summit approves.
Retosa is a SADC body responsible for the promotion and marketing of tourism in the region and its 14-member states are supportive of its existence as a means of also promoting regional integration.
The ad-hoc committee of ministers tasked to review the work of Retosa met in Luanda, Angola late last month to receive reports from two committees.
The committee on administrative issues, legal and financial matters comprised Mozambique and South Africa and the second committee focusing on policy recommendations comprised Seychelles and Zimbabwe.
The ministers also agreed on the removal of Article 7 of the Sadc protocol that deals with marketing and promotion by way of an amendment.
This function will now be the responsibility of member states as suggested in Maputo in November 2013.
The ministers tasked Zambia to produce a draft structure of the Tourism Directorate while Zimbabwe, Seychelles, Mozambique and South Africa continued to finalise their areas of preparation for the minister’s meeting scheduled for the end of June 2014 in Lusaka, Zambia.
“Plans are at an advanced stage to create the African Union Tourism Unit within the Commission for Infrastructure and Energy,” the communiqué read.
The ministers also agreed on the need for strong sub-regional tourism institutions to ensure that tourism matters got full attention and contribute meaningfully towards the economic development of countries, regions and ultimately the whole African continent.
“The African Union Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy highlighted that the AU was keen on leveraging on tourism as a quick-win to generate revenue in Africa, hence the need to ensure its representation at the highest decision making level like other sectors,” the document added.
From : Newsday.
By KUDZAI CHIMHANGWA
28 May 2014