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Tourism Minister: UNWTO Tourism Meeting Big Success

Tourism Minister Walter Mzembi
The 20th session of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) general assembly ended Thursday with Zimbabwean Tourism Minister Walter Mzembi saying the general assembly was a major success.

Some business exhibitors complained though that they feel shortchanged as delegates failed to visit their stalls which were located far from the conference centre.

Zimbabwe and Zambia co-hosted the UNWTO general assembly in Victoria Falls and Livingstone. The conference was officially closed by President Robert Mugabe and his Zambian counterpart Michael Sata Wednesday night.

Mzembi said the next general assembly in 2015 will be held in Colombia.

The UNWTO conference was attended by tourism ministers, tourism authority chief executives, tourist wholesalers, hoteliers and business people from all over the world.

The meeting which was attended by 147 UN member states boasted the highest attendance for the general assembly, focusing on key issues in the world of tourism including visa facilitation, connectivity and accessibility, and economic growth in the tourism section.

Mzembi told VOA Studio 7 it's now time for Zimbabwe and all African countries to examine ways of increasing tourism in Africa.

The general assembly has opened up debate on how Harare will use the conference to increase tourism receipts in the country and also how local tourism can be promoted.

For perspective reporter VOA Tatenda Gumbo spoke with Labor and Economic Development Research Institute of Zimbabwe economist Prosper Chitambara and Love for Africa managing director and member of the local UNWTO organizing committee, Blessing Munyenyiwa.

Munyenyiwa praised the two southern African countries for successfully showcasing the region and Africa to the whole world, adding Zimbabwe must now capitalize on the momentum brought by the meeting.

Chitambara pointed out Zimbabwe needs to focus on the tourism industry to bolster economic growth.