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Mzembi to formally announce bid for top UN tourism body post


Tourism and Hospitality Industry minister Walter Mzembi will next week formally announce his bid to vie for the top post at the United Nations tourism body.


Walter Mzembi
Walter Mzembi

Mzembi, who is gunning for the post of secretary-general of the UN World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), will launch his bid next Thursday in Madrid, Spain, on the sidelines of the International Tourism Fair (FITUR), which runs from January 18 to 22.

Mzembi has been endorsed by the African Union (AU) and chairs the UNWTO Regional Commission for Africa after he won a secured a second term in the post.

In a statement yesterday, the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) said Mzembi had the right qualifications for the job.

“It is the firm conviction of African heads of State and government — as evidenced by their unanimous endorsement of Mzembi’s candidature — that he has the qualifications, skills and competence, the vision and, equally as important, the drive and passion to successfully build on the remarkable legacy bequeathed to global tourism by Taleb Rifai (outgoing UNWTO secretary-general),” ZTA said in its confirmatory letter of endorsement, addressed to the secretary-general of the UNWTO.

Mzembi has been confident of his candidature after the endorsement by the AU during last year’s heads of States and government meeting in Kigali, Rwanda.

He will now have to contend with an unlikely opponent, Morocco’s Tourism minister Lahcen Haddad, who has also expressed interest in the top post and other candidates, who are yet to announce their bids.

Morocco is not a member of the AU and has begun plans to be part of the bloc again.

Elections for the post will be held in Chengdu, China, in the latter part of the year.

Mzembi is credited with bringing the UNTWO General Assembly to Africa. In 2013, Zimbabwe and Zambia co-hosted the UNWTO General Assembly meeting in Victoria Falls and Livingstone.

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