Tourism Minister Walter Mzembi says Zimbabwe and Zambia are expected to raise $6 million for hosting the United Nations World Tourism General Assembly next year to be co-hosted by the two Southern African nations as concerns have been mounting over their preparedness to host the annual event.
Mzembi told VOA Studio 7 Tuesday that each country will be required to raise $3 million and provide the necessary infrastructure in Victoria Falls, Livingstone and surrounding areas.
He said the two nations won’t fail to raise the money even if they are facing serious financial challenges.
Mzembi, who is currently in New York where he is part of a presidential entourage attending the United Nations General Sssembly, said he is expected Wednesday to chair the Africa Travel Assocaition Annual General Meeting in an effort to drum up support for the UNWTO general assembly set for August next year.
He said global tourism generates more than $3 trillion annually and Africa’s share is just a mere 4% of that revenue.
Mzembi estimates that Zimbabwe will net close to $1 billion this year in tourism revenue. “We have seen phenomenal performance in the tourism sector and I am confident that we will reach this figure by the end of the year … in 2009 we only generated $324 million,” he said.
He noted that preparations for the UNWTO general assembly are in full swing though Zimbabwe is not happy about the state of mind of some of its citizens who are not realizing the positive impact of the event.
Tourism consultant Zifiso Masiye of Balancing Rocks Consultacy said Zimbabwe should use its citizens living abroad to market the country’s tourism industry.