Monday, 7th SEPTEMBER, 2015
The Hon. Minister of Tourism and Arts Jean Kapata MP is this Wednesday 10th September, 2015 expected to arrive in Medellin, Colombia to attend the UNWTO 21st Session General Assembly. This has been confirmed by Zambia’s Ambassador to France His Excellency Humphrey Chilu Chibanda who is also accredited to Spain and the UNWTO. Ambassador Chibanda said the Hon. Minister will be leading a delegation that includes the Permanent Secretary Mr. Stephen Mwansa, other officials from the Ministry, Zambia Tourism Board, Zambia Wildlife Authority and the Hotel and Tourism Training Institute Trust. In 2013 Zambia and Zimbabwe successfully co-hosted the tourism bi-annual event in Livingstone and Victoria Falls towns respectively.
Ambassador Chibanda said, Colombia won the bid to host the 21st session General Assembly in Zambia in August, 2013 and will be hosting the event for the second time, following the 2007 UNWTO General Assembly in Cartagena de Indias. The event is expected to gather over 800 delegates from UNWTO Member States, the private sector and academia. This year´s Assembly also coincides with a defining moment for the international community as it prepares to embrace the universal Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the post-2015 blueprint for sustainable development.
Ambassador Chibanda said Zambia and Zimbabwe assumed the chair-ship of the UNWTO General Assembly in 2013 when two sister countries co-hosted the event. This means the Hon. Minister and her counterpart from Zimbabwe will Chair the 1st Plenary Session of the General Assembly before handing over the chair-ship to their counterpart Minister of Tourism for Colombia. His Excellency Ambassador Chibanda has also confirmed Zambia’s bid to get a seat in the UNWTO Executive Council during Fifty-seventh (57) Commission for Africa meeting which will be held on the sideline of the General Assembly on Saturday 12 September 2015, from 14:00 to 19:00.
The Executive Council is UNWTO’s governing board, responsible for ensuring that the Organization carries out its work and adheres to its budget. It meets at least twice a year and is composed of Members elected by the General Assembly in a ratio of one for every five Full Members. As host country of UNWTO´s Headquarters, Spain has a permanent seat on the Executive Council. Representatives of the Associate Members and Affiliate Members participate in Executive Council meetings as observers. The last time Zambia was a member of the UNWTO Executive Council was in 1980.
The Ambassador pointed out that out that the 21st General Assembly taking place at a most dynamic time for the tourism sector, with five consecutive years of robust growth, which has seen tourism become a major contributor to the economic recovery in many parts of the world, generating foreign earnings, employment and investment. According to UNWTO records in 2014, despite several challenges, international tourism reached new records with 1,133 million tourists travelling the world and contributing US$ 1.5 trillion in exports.
The Hon. Minister and her delegation have a busy schedule that includes attending a joint UNWTO/ICAO High-level Forum on Tourism and Air Transport for Development. The Forum will focus on how closer cooperation between aviation and tourism can maximize the impact of both sectors on employment, inclusive growth and sustainable development, in the context of the post-2105 development agenda and the forth coming Climate Summit next December in Paris France. The Forum with the participation of all delegates attending will be moderated by the Secretary-General of UNWTO, Taleb Rifai, and the Secretary-General of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), Dr. Fang Liu and count on the participation of Richard Quest, Anchor of CNN’s Quest Means Business.
Other special events during the General Assembly include topics such as tourism as a tool for peace and social inclusion, financing for development, talent management, gastronomic tourism and shopping tourism.
Held every two years, the General Assembly is UNWTO’s main statutory meeting and the most important international gathering of senior tourism officials and high-level representatives of the private sector.
Percy Mabvuto Ngwira
First Secretary Tourism / Liaison Officer for Zambia to UNWTO
Embassy of the Republic of Zambia
18, Avenue de Tourville – 75007