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Zimbabwe Minister Says Canada Free to Pull Out of UN Tourism Agency

Tourism Minister Walter Mzembi has dismissed as a non-event reports that Canada wants to withdraw from the United Nations World Tourism Association (UNWTO) after President Robert Mugabe recently signed a golden book on tourism recognizing his efforts in promoting the multi-billion dollar industry.

Mzembi told Studio 7 Friday that Canada’s withdrawal from the association will not stop Zimbabwe from co-hosting with Zambia the UNWTO general assembly next year.

Mr. Mugabe and Zambian President Michael Sata this week signed an Open Letter on Travel and Tourism in recognition of a tripatite agreement with the UN agency in hosting the event.

Canada claims that President Mugabe, who is on travel sanctions, should not be associated with promoting world tourism.

According to the UN, Mr. Mugabe has not been made an official tourism ambassador.Mzembi said Canada should stop politicizing the tourism industry.

Zimbabwean and Zambian presidents, along with the Secretary General of the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), signed a trilateral agreement Tuesday to co-host the UNWTO General Assembly, which takes place in Victoria Falls and Livingston in August 2013.