via UNWTO once in a lifetime chance by Southern Eye Editorial
ZIMBABWE will be the centre of attraction beginning this weekend as it welcomes delegates from over 150 countries attending the six-day United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) General Assembly in Victoria Falls.
The prime resort town and neighbouring Livingstone in Zambia, will from tomorrow host the biggest event ever on the international tourism calendar — the 20th session of the UNWTO General Assembly.
The tourism indaba is a golden opportunity, especially for Zimbabwe, to clear its battered image as the world’s tourism family will have first-hand experience of what the nation is all about.
Organisers say this year’s UNWTO conference would attract the highest number of delegates in the history of the organisation.
This is enough reason for Zimbabwe to feel proud.
Zimbabwe will not be able to host this event again in the next 360 years.
Everything is at stake, from image to business, as the two hosting countries seek to market their tourism brands as safe and worth visiting tourist destinations.
The UNWTO indaba is about unlocking the tourism value of Zimbabwe and Zambia’s tourist attractions to the world for long-term benefits.
Tourism players see the conference as a good platform to market Zimbabwe as a safe tourist destination and an image-booster.
Although most of the envisaged infrastructure projects such as the construction of a world-class conference centre in Victoria Falls did not come into fruition, the hosting of the conference would leave a lasting legacy for the whole Matabeleland region.
Some of the benefits of hosting the event may not be immediately felt by the people, but the likely increase in the number of tourists visiting the majestic Victoria Falls and other attractions in the region would augur well for the economic recovery of Matabeleland.
Those in the tourism sector must take advantage of the conference to position themselves for the growth of the industry and the economy at large.
More importantly we must give the visitors reason to come back in future by showing them the hospitality we are renowned for.