TOURISM minister Walter Mzembi on Thursday officially launched his bid to become the United Nations World Tourism Authority Organisation (UNWTO) secretary-general.
BY STAFF REPORTER
Mzembi, whose candidature already has endorsement from the African Union (AU) and other regional bodies, took advantage of the International Tourism Fair underway in Madrid, Spain, to officially throw his hat into the ring.
Mzembi laid out his vision, which is anchored on his wish to reform the global tourism body in order to enhance growth as a multi-billion dollar industry that could drive the world’s economy and its reach.
“This is a member States-subscribed organisation, which should see more countries joining its ranks. Such membership growth will only come out of dynamic value propositions and effective response to members’ aspirations and challenges.
“Equally, we must disabuse the notion of an organisation patronised by a few States or others overloaded with key developments. We should strive for equity all the time for the sake of inclusivity and ultimately the integrity of the UNWTO,” he told delegates.
The UNWTO will hold elections for the secretary-general post in May following the expiry of incumbent, Taleb Rifai of Jordan’s eight-year tour of duty.
Africa has not held the top UNWTO post and, although there is no officially recognised system of regional rotation, when it comes to filling the post, there has emerged a general sense of understanding that, given the right candidate, the continent could be well-placed to assume leadership.
Mzembi, who currently heads the UNWTO Africa section, drove Zimbabwe’s bid to successfully host the UNWTO general assembly in 2013.
In his address, Mzembi said the world should uphold tourism for attainment of global peace and security.
“While on the sensitive area of terrorism, I shall give maximum attention to mobilising governments to protect tourism against this scourge through greater and enhanced security collaboration, intelligence gathering and sharing, standardisation and certification of safety procedures, post-crisis management and capacity building of member States.”
A few more candidates are expected from Europe and the Americas, but Mzembi has been on the campaign trail for sometime now.