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Road to UNWTO 2013

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Tourism and Hospitality Industry minister Walter Mzembi says the country is taking steps to ensure the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) next General Assembly in 2013 will be a success.

Speaking to NewsDay in a wide-ranging interview yesterday, Mzembi said Cabinet on Tuesday adopted eight sub-committees to ensure accomplishment of outstanding tasks and an integrated approach to planning and implementation of programmes.

On Tuesday, the Cabinet acknowledged what has been done to date and gave their nod to future activities, said Mzembi.

A site for the construction of a world-class multi-purporse international convention centre has been identified. Funding models have been considered and adopted.

Infrastructural projects alluded to earlier are at bill of quantity level and architectural plans approved.
Mzembi said the next stages would be groundbreaking and periodically the nation would be apprised of progress.

He said critical to successful hosting would be a national buy-in, macroeconomic stability, political stability, continued positive country image and improved air access.

Adequate financing of programmed projects and participation of a greater number of UNWTO member states would also be fundamental.

In order to ensure small-scale companies benefit from the world event, Mzembi said Cabinet drafted the small-to-medium enterprises ministry led by Sithembiso Nyoni to define and work with the committee on an intervention strategy similar to World Cup held in South Africa in 2010.

I envisage sub-contracted opportunities on infrastructural and construction interventions, supply chain opportunities, curio bazaars and entertainment programmes which will involve the majority of our people, said Mzembi.

He said between now and 2013, the country will have four inspection visits from the UNWTO, the first one on February 25.

The popularisation of the event is ongoing and it would be done at various international conferences, travel fairs and exhibitions, the most immediate being the Seychelles Carnival, ITB in Germany, an investment outreach in India and conferences/meetings in Las Vegas and Chicago.

For a full version of the interview, see tomorrow’s NewsDay edition.

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