walter mzembi 28-08-11.jpgZimbabwe has won the bid to co-host the 2013 United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) General Assembly with Zambia.

The UNWTO Secretary General, Mr Talib Rifai made the announcement at the on-going UNWTO General Assembly being held in the Republic of Korea. 

Mr Rifai said the two countries won the bid due to the commitment and seriousness they displayed, adding that the event is Africa’s chance to show the world that it has more tourism activities, development and innovations than elsewhere in the world.

Overjoyed Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister, Cde Walter Mzembi said winning the bid is the ultimate endorsement of Zimbabwe as a tourism destination of choice in the region.

Cde Mzembi said the hosting of the event will give the country an opportunity to retain its image as Africa’s safest and most attractive tourist destination.

He also had words of advice for the co-host nations.

“The two countries should begin to plan and prepare for the event so that they can deliver a unique African experience to all the 186 countries affiliated to the UNWTO who will attend the meeting,” said Cde Mzembi.

Stakeholders in the tourism industry, who are sharing the joy of winning the bid with the rest of the country, said the event will mark the turning point of tourism in Southern Africa as a region.

They however called on both the Zimbabwean and Zambian governments to be united and avail adequate resources for the success of the meeting in 2013.