Category Archives: News

Zimbabwe Postpones Sanganai Travel Expo To September

Zimbabwe Tourism Authority [ZTA], has announced preparations for this year’s edition of Sanganai/Hlanganani World Tourism Expo to be held in September after getting funding from government.

Karikoga Kaseke, ZTA Chief Executive told journalists that government had committed to fund the premier tourism event and also pay all the debts that were accrued during the previous edition of the event.

“Officials from the ministry of Finance did not only commit to fund Sanganai 2017 but they have already disbursed funds for us to pay all the service providers who supplied goods and services to Sanganai last year but were still owed by the ZTA”, he said.

Kaseke pointed out that the shifting of dates to September was necessitated by the need for adequate preparations.

“More than one third of the exhibition space has already been taken by both local and international exhibitors, a good sign that the business world continue to see value in the fair. A number of foreign exhibitors have already registered, notably those representing South Africa, Malawi, Botswana, Zambia, Namibia and Mozambique,” he said.

This comes as the Zimbabwe Council for Tourism [ZCT] president Tich Hwingwiri said the expo was an essential component of the country’s overall marketing strategy and the possibility of its cancellation had been a major concern for all travel and tourism operators in the country.

“Over the years, the entire sector has rallied behind the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority [ZTA] at this event and it is essential for this year’s expo to take place as scheduled, and for maximum effort to be made to bring in valuable and worthwhile tourism buyers from across the world,” he said.

“Operators from across the entire sector will support through participation and through assisting in making the expo as representative and informative as possible for the buyers and also for members of the public who visit on the open days,” Hwingwiri added.

This was after Walter Mzembi, Minister of Tourism and Hospitality on Monday said the country will be hosting the annual Sanganai/Hlanganani Travel Expo as initially planned, despite an earlier announcement by the ZTA that the premier event had been cancelled due to a serious funding crisis.

“The government is very aware that Sanganai/Hlanganani travel expo has grown to become the second most popular tourism fair on the continent, after Indaba Travel Expo in South Africa and that the expo has transformed into the biggest national tourism fair since 1980, becoming the greatest and most effective marketing and promotional tool for the tourism and travel related industry,” Mzembi said.

Launched in 1982, the fair is the successor of Shanyai/Vakatshani, the Zimbabwe International Travel Expo that was held annually at the Harare International Conference Centre.

United Airlines Boss, “We Are Sorry, But We Stand By Our Staff “

The Chief Executive Officer of United Airlines, Oscar Munoz, cannot seem to make up his mind over an incident where a passenger was dragged off a flight in a bloody mess.

The airline boss issued an apology to all of its passengers over how this whole fiasco played out, but then he also said he “emphatically” stands behind his employees. So which is it, Oscar?

As Flight 3411 from Chicago to Louisville was preparing for take-off, cabin crew asked if four passengers would voluntarily give up their seats, because there were United Airlines employees that had to be at work the next day.

Flight 3411 from Chicago to Louisville was preparing for take-off at O’Hare International Airport when cabin crew informed the passengers that the flight was overbooked. Nobody volunteered and so four passengers were picked at random.

When they approached an older passenger to ask if he’d give up his seat, he said he could not, saying he was a doctor and had to be in Louisville in the morning to see patients. The agent said if he refused to leave, she would call security, but he refused to disembark from his paid seat.

This caused a verbal exchange which lead to one of the officers unbuckling his seat belt and yanking him from his seat and then throwing him to the floor. The passenger was dragged by his arms down the aisle.

His eyeglasses were sliding down his face, his shirt was up over his midriff, and he hit his head as he was being dragged down the aisle.

According to United Airlines’ CEO, the passenger was being “defiant,” so he had to be forcibly removed.

A witness said all the passengers on the flight were quite disturbed.

The man somehow got back on the plane, saying that he had to get home. He had to be placed on a stretcher to be removed.

According to the Chicago Department of Aviation, one of the officers did not follow protocol and has been placed on leave while a review is underway.

After the man was taken away, the four United employees boarded the flight.

Zimbabwe: Victoria Falls – A Tourism Phoenix Set To Rise

The state-of-the-art Victoria Falls International Airport, built by a Chinese firm, is already proving its potential as a premier destination for airlines from various countries.

The airport was built by China Jiangsu International Economic and Technical Cooperation Group and commissioned by President Mugabe in November last year.

While it is important that the new-look airport is a symbol of the progress being made in Zimbabwe, it significantly represents the progressive relations between the country and China.

It is a sample of what can be achieved in other areas of Zimbabwe’s economic revival, as the Asian economic giant has since indicated its willingness to help the country in all aspects.

Well, the good economic and political relations between China and Zimbabwe cannot be in doubt, as they have been well rooted in mutual trust and win-win cooperation.

What is now critical is to take these relations forward and make them start benefiting people from both sides.

And there is no doubt that establishments such as the Victoria Falls International Airport will help bring the benefits to the grassroots.

A few months after its commissioning, international airlines are already stampeding to land at the airport.

The end result is that more tourists will eventually flock to Victoria Falls from all over the world, as the new airport can now accommodate planes of different sizes and shapes.

Ethiopian Airlines has already started flying directly to Victoria Falls from Addis Ababa en-route to Gaborone, Botswana, while South African Airways has unveiled a bigger plane, an Airbus A330-200, for the route.

Kenyan Airways, Emirates, Qatar and RwandAir have also announced they will be flying directly to Victoria Falls.

Etihad has a code share with British Airways to fly to the world acclaimed tourism destination, while Lufthansa has a similar arrangement with South African Airways.

This is in addition to other airlines that have been flying to the premier tourist destination like British Airways, South African Airways, ComAir, Air Namibia and Air Zimbabwe.

For many years, the Victoria Falls has been touted as critical to Zimbabwe’s economic turnaround, but its potential has been suppressed.

Now, the proverbial “phoenix” is set to rise, thanks to the Chinese firm for reconstructing the airport to international standards.

There is no doubt that China Jiangsu International did an exceptional job and managed to exhibit well the spirit that characterises China’s rise from poverty a few years ago to a moderately rich society.

The construction and refurbishment of the airport was made possible by a $150 million concessional loan facility provided to Zimbabwe by the China Export and Import Bank in 2012.

The civil engineering works began in 2013, resulting in the construction of a new four-kilometre long and 60 metres wide runway, an international terminal building, a fire station, control tower and installing of state-of-the-art specialist aviation equipment.

The old airport was also renovated and will now serve as the domestic terminal building.

President Mugabe was so impressed by the work done by China Jiangsu International, which he said would enhance cooperation between Zimbabwe and China.

“China Jiangsu International, the Chinese contractor engaged on this project, met our requirements,” he said while commissioning the new airport.

[By Lovemore Chikova, Zimbabwe Herald]

UNWTO: Almost 500 Million International Tourists visited EU In 2016

International tourist arrivals to the European Union increased by 4% in 2016, reaching almost 500 million or 40% of the world’s total. This preliminary result is included in the first release of the ‘European Union Short-Term Tourism Trends’, a regular monitoring of EU tourism by the World Tourism Organization [UNWTO] in the framework of the cooperation with the Directorate-General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs [DG GROWTH] of the European Commission [EC].

Despite many challenges facing Europe in 2016, tourism has once again shown extraordinary strength and resilience, reinforcing its contribution to economic growth, job creation and social wellbeing in the European Union (EU-28).

The 28 countries of the EU boasted a solid growth in international tourist arrivals of above 4% in 2016, exceeding the world’s average growth rate, and increasing by 21 million to 499 million.

2016 was the 7th consecutive year of sustained growth for the EU-28 following the 2009 global economic and financial crisis, with 107 million more tourists than the pre-crisis level of 2008.

“Tourism is today one of the key pillars of the EU strategy for jobs and inclusive growth. UNWTO is very pleased to be working alongside the European Commission in monitoring international tourism trends, advance product development and sustainable tourism in Europe”, said UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai.

South Africa: New Tourism Minister A Boost For Mzembi UNWTO Secretary General Election Victory

There are indications that a shift in South Africa’s influence on the election of a new UNWTO Secretary General in favour of Zimbabwe’s Mzembi following cabinet reshuffle.

The former minister, Derek Hanekom woke up this morning to know that he has been sacked by President Zuma.

Moving against South Africa’s President Zuma by imposing a series of votes of “no confidence” against his boss did not pay off for Derek Hanekom.

Replacing him is Tokozile Xasa. She is originally a teacher and taught at several high schools for 9 years before becoming the first female mayor of a district municipality in the transitional period of local government in the Eastern Cape.

She was a national executive member in the Women´s League from 1995-1997 and served as Regional Secretary for the Transkei Women’s League from 1993-1995.

She is an African National Congress [the ruling party in South Africa] activist and an ANC Member of the Provincial Legislature from 2001 until 2009 where she worked in local and traditional affairs in the Premier’s Office and in the Economic Affairs Portfolio Committees. Since 2009, she has been the Deputy Minister of Tourism in South Africa.

Tokozile Xasa holds a Bachelor’s degree in Public Administration and Psychology from the Walter Sisulu University and a Master’s in Public Administration from the MPA – University of Fort Hare.

Her deputy now is the Hon. Elisabeth Thabethe. She was born on September 26, 1959 and had been a Member of Parliament since 1994. She completed a Certificate in Economics with the University of South Africa [UNISA] and completed her advanced Diploma in Economics with the University of the Western Cape [UWC].

She was a Co-coordinator of the East Rand Women’s League RTT structure, a member of the ANC National Parliamentary Caucus, Gauteng Provincial Whip, and a House Whip from 1996 to 2004. She chaired the Portfolio Committee on Environmental Affairs and Tourism between 2004 and June 2005, and was also a member of the committees on Labor and Trade and Industry. She was the Deputy Minister of Small Business Development.

Today’s cabinet shuffle in South Africa may also shuffle cards in the upcoming election for the UNWTO Secretary General. South Africa is a key member of the United Nations World Tourism Organization Executive Council and is known as an influencer on the African continent. This very much also counts for the travel, tourism, hospitality, and the aviation industry.

The UNWTO Secretary-General election is decided by the members of the UNWTO Executive Council. From Africa, members of the UNWTO Executive Council are the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Mozambique, Seychelles, South Africa, Tunisia, and Zambia.

There are currently two very capable and widely-liked candidates from Africa competing for the highest post in the United Nations World Tourism Organization. One is Alain St.Ange, the former Minister of Tourism from the Seychelles, and two is Walter Mzembi, the current Minister of Tourism and Hospitality from Zimbabwe.

One is from a country [Seychelles] with a message to the world: “We are friends of all, enemies of none,” The other candidate [Mzembi] has a global mind-set and is well liked. He has a youthful and out of the box approach and established an excellent reputation also with many countries and leaders critical of Zimbabwe. His home country [Zimbabwe] has big current challenges, but the potential of great opportunities tomorrow.

St.Ange shows the importance of personal friendship in collecting endorsements for his candidacy from private industry, from journalists and former government officials.

Mzembi had been traveling the world for months successfully drumming up support behind the scene.

He was endorsed by the African Union as Africa’s choice for UNWTO before Alain St.Ange entered the race.

Former South African Minister of Tourism Derek Hanekom, a white South African, was a supporter of UNWTO candidate Alain St.Ange, a white African from the Indian Ocean island nation, the Republic of the Seychelles.

Today, in a South African cabinet shuffle, Tourism Minister Hanekom replacement by Tokzile Xasa, a black South African may also adjust sympathies.

According to media sources, Xasa is very much respected in Zimbabwe, and she is known to have a good understanding and friendship with UNWTO candidate Walter Mzembi from Zimbabwe.