THE United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) yesterday declared Zambia and Zimbabwe ready to host the 20th session of the general assembly in Livingstone and Victoria Falls Town this August.
UNWTO secretary-general Taleb Rifai announced this here on Thursday during a trilateral meeting.
“It is a great achievement to see both countries ready to host the general assembly,” Mr Rifai said.
Minister of Tourism and Arts Sylvia Masebo reaffirmed Zambia’s commitment to co-hosting the general assembly of the UNWTO.
“My government is ready and has set aside sufficient budgetary allocation for logistical and event management of this prestigious 20th session of the general assembly,” Ms Masebo said.
And Zimbabwean Minister for Tourism and Hospitality Walter Mzembi allayed fears surrounding his country’s general elections slated for June this year.
Mr Mzembi said Zimbabwe will usher in a government under a new constitution by June this year.
“All political players are ready to participate in this election… we will adopt a new constitution and the elections in Zimbabwe will be held in June. A referendum process will be conducted in March this year,” Mr Mzembi told the delegates.
He said Zimbabwe is ready to participate in co-hosting the UNWTO.
Earlier, Ms Masebo told the UNWTO executive members and other tourism ministers that Zambia had already secured venues for the meetings, accommodation from five-star hotels to budget rate.
The minister also noted that the co-hosting of the general assembly has created more than 350 jobs in the hospitality industry.
Zambia is endowed with a very rich and diverse cultural heritage beyond the mighty Victoria Falls, she said.
Ms Masebo marketed Zambia in captivating style in just five minutes and got a standing ovation.
The general assembly will attract delegates from at least 170 countries and affiliate private sector organisations.
The event is expected to host about 1,500 delegates between the two countries.
The official opening ceremony will be held in Zambia and closing in Zimbabwe. Zambia is also expected to host plenary sessions and the council of Africa ministers meeting.
The two countries have offered gratis visas across the border lines during the assembly.