13 January 2017
Minister of Tourism and Hospitality Dr Walter Mzembi who is vying for the post of United Nations World Tourism Organisation secretary general post will formally launch his candidature in Spain next Thursday.
Dr Mzembi, who was endorsed by the Africa Union, is the current Chairperson of the UNWTO Regional Commission for Africa.
In a statement by the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority, it is said the event, which will be at the UNWTO’s headquarters in Madrid, will see guests including “representatives of all UNWTO Member States, the Secretary General of the UNWTO and all Executive Directors of the Organisation, as well as senior representatives of the Spanish Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Tourism, in attendance.
“The reception will take place at the prestigious Torre de Cristal, in the Four Towers central business district of downtown Madrid.
“The launch event in Madrid will provide an appropriate opportunity and platform for Dr Mzembi to outline his vision and to provide an overview of how, if elected Secretary General, he intends to lead the UNWTO to those “new heights of relevance, recognition and results,” read the statement.
“Unanimously endorsed by African Heads of State and Government at the AU Summit held in Kigali, Rwanda in July, 2016, Dr Mzembi thus assumed the mantle of Africa’s candidate for the top UNWTO post – a position which has never before been held by an African.
“In its confirmatory letter of endorsement, addressed to the Secretary General of the UNWTO, the African Union Commission stated that:
“It is the firm conviction of African Heads of State and Government – as evidenced by their unanimous endorsement of Dr Mzembi’s candidature – that he has the qualifications, skills and competence, the vision and the drive and passion to successfully build on the remarkable legacy bequeathed to global tourism by His Excellency Dr Rifai, and to lead the Organisation and global tourism to new heights of relevance, recognition and results – tourism being an effective vehicle for sustainable development, the building of deeper understanding between peoples and cultures and for the reinforcement of the quest for greater global harmony and peace,” read the statement.
When he launched his website in August last year, Dr Mzembi had said the country is in the race to win the post, as he added that everything will be put in place will be a success.
He had said that he was happy with the endorsements the country was receiving saying “you seek endorsements first because those are the ones that influence who will be balloting and that’s precisely the route we are going,” he said.
And he said he was to be undertaking several outreach visits to many countries.
“Thirty two member countries constitute the primary electoral college; anyone who commands 50 percent plus one at that level is then recommended for endorsement by the General Assembly in Chengdu in China in September 2017.
“So we are fighting hard to make sure that we succeed with the 50 percent plus one by May 2017 and this would entail going forward a visit to all the 32 executive members so there is gonna be quite a bit of travelling between now and May next year.
“But happily it does not fall outside what we would ordinarily do as part of my mandate as tourism minister.
“So as we campaign we are also promoting brand Zimbabwe, as we campaign we also explaining issues,” said Minister Mzembi.