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UNWTO Member States Discuss Visa Restrictions

  • Sithandekile Mhlanga

Victoria Falls

Victoria Falls

Zambian president Michael Sata, who will later be joined by his Zimbabwean counterpart president Mugabe, will officially close the meeting Wednesday evening.

Organizers of the 20th general assembly of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) held in Livingstone, Zambia, on Wednesday say the meeting debated the feasibility of removing visa restrictions for the body’s member states to encourage tourism.

The meeting, which is attended by more than 147 countries, moved from Zimbabwe’s resort town of Victoria Falls to Livingstone on Wednesday. The two countries are co-hosting the meeting which started last Saturday and ends Thursday.

Chairman of the UNWTO Local Organizing Committee and former Victoria Falls mayor, Nkosilathi Jiyane, said Zambian president Michael Sata, who will later be joined by his Zimbabwean counterpart President Robert Mugabe, was set to officially close the meeting on the same day.

Mr. Jiyane said in Wednesday’s plenary session, delegates were divided over waiving visa restrictions. “Some delegates said visas should be removed completely, whereas others argued restrictions will reduce revenue collection,” he said.

China reportedly charges Zimbabwean visa applicants only $60.00 for the process, which takes only 24 hours to complete.

Mr. Jiyane said the general assembly resolved that member states will communicate through the UNWTO office on the visa issue and other major proposals brought up in the meetings.
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