Zimbabwe tourism sector boosted by UNWTO support

President Mugabe Africa United Nations PhotoPresident Robert Mugabe spoke to delegates at the official opening of the UNWTO general assembly. (Image source: United Nations Photo)The United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) has approved new community-based initiatives for Zimbabwe

President Robert Mugabe addressed hundreds of delegates at the official opening of the 20th session of the UNWTO General Assembly in Victoria Falls.

According to the president, UNWTO's Sustainable Tourism for the Reduction of Poverty (STERP) programme will run under the theme: "Enhancing the participation of youth and women in the tourism sector".

"This is an effective empowering tool which will promote equity and access to tourism revenue. It also resonates resoundingly with the people empowering initiatives that my government is pursuing," President Mugabe said.

He also added that the thematic thrusts pursued at the conference, "Open borders and open skies, removing hurdles to the growth of tourism in Africa" are very apt in the current times.

President Mugabe told delegates that the hosting of the United Nations Specialized Agency's general assembly constitutes an important milestone in the economic history of Zambia and Zimbabwe and the rest of the SADC region. He added that the decision by the UNWTO secretary general, Taleb Rifai to hold the global event in Zimbabwe and Zambia inspires the two countries to maintain friendly relations with the whole international community.

"The selection of the venue from a number of competing candidates will doubtlessly strengthen our determination to leverage tourism for the economic well-being and advancement of our people in Zambia, Zimbabwe and the whole of Africa," President Mugabe said.

He also told delegates that himself and President Sata of Zambia have since signed the Golden Book of Tourism becoming ambassadors for global tourism.

"Please let all of you know that the signing of the Golden Book of Tourism was not a matter of mere ceremony for us, for through that act we recognised the important political and economic role that tourism can play in our two countries and on the continent," President Mugabe said.

"We are committed to leveraging this sector as a key driver of our economic growth."

Wallace Mawire

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