ZIMBABWE will not get immediate benefits from co-hosting the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) General Assembly, but is set to capitalise on the spin-offs arising from the successful hosting of the event, a tourism executive has said.
Ndamu Sandu in Berlin Germany
Zimbabwe and Zambia will co-host the 20th session of the UNWTO General Assembly from August 24 to August 29 in Victoria Falls and Livingstone respectively.
Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) chief operating officer Givemore Chidzidzi told NewsDay on the sidelines of the just-ended travel and tourism fair in Germany that the event might not bring a lot of money as anticipated by people, but would brand and position the country as a destination.
“As an event the UNWTO (conference) might not bring us a lot of money so to say,” he said.
“What is going to be invested might not bring in the results that people anticipate.
“But we will get the other benefits: The issue of branding; positioning and creating awareness of a destination in the members.
People are talking about the general assembly and you can imagine the amount of awareness that is being created about the destination.”
He said benefits would be realised from the successful hosting of the event.
“Think about South Africa after the (2010 soccer) World Cup. Now they are enjoying the benefits because mega events are going there and a lot of things are happening.
“People might be talking of white elephants here or there, but at least they have the elephants whether white or grey.
“Sooner or later the nation is going to derive a lot of benefits out of them.”
Chidzidzi said the country had to look at the post UNWTO conference benefits and start preparing to ensure that tourists would visit the country again.
Chidzidzi’s remarks come at a time the other co-host, Zambia, has been telling its nationals to look beyond the event.
Zambia’s Tourism and Arts minister Sylvia Masebo, told our sister paper, The Standard last week that her nation was faced with “some challenges especially in trying to get our people appreciate the importance of this conference and use as a mechanism not just to make money but as a springboard to showcase our country, people, tradition and culture beyond the UNWTO”.