Zimbabwe should spruce up its tourism industry as there are high expectations associated with the hosting of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) in 2013, a Cabinet minister said Monday.
Tourism and Hospitality Industry minister Walter Mzembi, who returned home from Korea on Monday, said he was happy Zimbabwe’s bid to co-host the next global event had been approved, but more now needs to be done.
“We need to spruce up our acts on the landmarks for tourism to be able to attract people. We will also do activities around this event to keep the flame glowing,” said Mzembi.
“We need to look at critical success factors which include ICT, opening up airlines, the banking sector — where we need the use of plastic money — and other areas,” he said.
However, despite all the challenges ahead, Mzembi was over the moon.
“This is a dream come true for Zimbabwe because this will be the first time for the country to host the assembly. It is a generational legacy which can only be held once in four hundred years,” he said.
Zimbabwe and Zambia won the right to co-host the event at the just-ended UNWTO summit Korea.
“Our bid was just too good.
We managed to intimidate other countries out of the box. We were very confident with what we were doing,” he said.
The minister said he had since set a target of five million tourist arrivals and a 15% gross domestic product contribution from the tourism sector by 2015, a move which he said would be achievable especially with the visitors drawn from over 200 countries who will grace the event.
Mzembi said the event would be launched after both the Zimbabwean and Zambian Presidents have been briefed.
He thanked President Robert Mugabe, members of the inclusive government and Team Zimbabwe for supporting the bid.
General assemblies are held biennially. With over 200 members of the General Assembly, the probability of any one country hosting the assembly on its soil is one in 400 years.