TREASURY will this week release funds for the UNWTO general assembly scheduled for the resort town of Victoria Falls 72 days before the event, government officials have confirmed.
The Ministry of Tourism and Hospitality requested for $6,5 million from treasury to fund the 76th general assembly scheduled for August 24-29, but no funds have been provided yet.
Tourism minister Walter Mzembi said preparations were going on well, but there was need for cash injection by Treasury.
“We are working like a clock and certain things have to happen at the same time. We have competing national interest and ours would not be the exclusive agenda for 2013. We appeal for balance,” he said.
“We are expecting some funds from the Finance minister (Tendai Biti) this week, but I don’t know how much would be released as we will have a meeting today,” he said.
Contacted for comment, Biti confirmed the development.
“I don’t discuss those issues with the media. We are going to release money before the end of this week,” he said.
Mzembi said the executive council of tourism in the world was happy with the state of preparedness of the two countries, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
“We are expecting the last delegation to the destination from the general assembly on June 28. In the coming week, we shall be finalising the structure and programme of the session,” he said.
In April this year, Mzembi extended a begging bowl to diplomats in Harare to raise funds towards the UNWTO.
A total of 4 000 delegates are expected to attend the event in the resort town of Victoria Falls. Zimbabwe will be co-hosting the event with Zambia.
The Zimbabwe Council for Tourism president Glenn Stutchbury in April told NewsDay that a total of $16 million would be spent on refurbishments of hotels in the resort town.
He indicated that refurbishments were being undertaken at A’Zambezi Hotel, Victoria Falls Safari Lodge, Victoria Falls Hotel and Cresta Sprayview Hotel.
Stuchbury said Elephant Hills, The Kingdom at Victoria Falls, The Rainbow Hotel and Ilala Lodge would be carrying out refurbishments to the tune of $1,15million.