WASHINGTON DC —
Tourism Minister Walter Mzembi says the government is asking southern African nations for professional and logistical help so that Zimbabwe can host the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) general assembly in August.
The minister told VOA Studio 7 he is appealing to his counterparts in South Africa and Angola with the hope that they will persuade their countries to give Zimbabwe some technical help and money.
Mr. Mzembi said the country needs at least $6.5 million to co-host the international event with Zambia.
The country has already set up an inter-ministerial committee tasked with sourcing funds from the local financial sector, but so far the funds generated are not enough.
Mzembi said the government has also hired a South African consultancy company called Africa Conventions to help with preparations. The move touched a raw nerve in Zimbabwe, with several local companies feeling that they are being left out of the event.
As the name implies, Africa Conventions organizes international seminars, conferences, and conventions.
Critics, such as tourism expert Zifiso Masiye of Balancing Rocks Consultancy, said Mr. Mzembi should have appointed the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair Company or other local firms to raise funds on behalf of Zimbabwe.
But the minister defended his decision, saying he is within his powers to select a company of his choice to organize the event and raise the necessary funds.