'Zim a reliable UNWTO partner'

VICTORIA - Zimbabwe has proved a reliable partner in the run-up to the August United Nations World Tourism to the Organisation (UNWTO) conference, a Zambian minister has said.

The two southern African neighbours will jointly host the global tourism organisation’s conference this year.

Keith Mukata, Zambia’s deputy minister of Tourism and Arts, who is leading the southern African nation’s delegation to the on-going Carnival International de Victoria in Seychelles, told the Daily News Zimbabwe was playing its part well in the UNTWO preparations.

“Zimbabwe and Zambia are happy with their preparations for the joint hosting of UNWTO,” said Mukata.

“Definitely, we respect Zimbabwe’s tenacity; we are enjoying riding shoulder to shoulder with them as we roll-out the preparations for UNWTO.

“Hosting an event of this magnitude is not an easy task.

“The tendency should not be to draw comparisons; Zimbabwe and Zambia’s preparations should not be unduly compared to when it was held in Madrid (Spain) for example”.

The Zambian deputy minister, however, conceded that criticism that has been levelled on Zimbabwe and Zambia on the failure to maximise their joint marketing of the Victoria Falls was fair.

“We have been doing some joint marketing of Victoria Falls but we both realise that more should be done. We have been duplicating efforts instead of feeding into each other’s efforts. We have to pool our resources together; there has to be more regional integration but these issues are being tackled bilaterally and multilaterally,” said Mukata.

In the Zambian official’s view, Africa will only get a bigger slice of the global tourism trade by building more effective synergies.

“We are learning from experience that competing among ourselves and our little marketing efforts as Individual African countries won’t help us.

“We have to pool our comparative advantages as African countries to gain more than the mere six percent the continent is currently enjoying from the $1,2 trillion global tourism trade.”

Zambia deputy minister of Tourism and Arts Keith Mukata. - Dakarai Mashava in Seychelles

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