On the final leg of his latest United nations World Tourism Organisation [UNWTO] campaign tour, Zimbabwe Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister, Walter Mzembi, was in Nairobi, Kenya, for comprehensive discussions with his Kenyan counterpart, Najib Balala.
Kenya is a member of the UNWTO Executive Council and will be one of 32 Council members to vote for the next Secretary General of the UNWTO when the Council meets in Madrid, Spain, in May 2017.
The Minister’s visit to Kenya follows in the wake of the letter sent by His Excellency President Robert Mugabe to all African Heads of State – including His Excellency President Uhuru Kenyatta – seeking their support for Mzembi’s candidature, and the subsequent unanimous endorsement of that candidature by the African Union Summit meeting held in Kigali, Rwanda, in July this year.
Mzembi expressed his gratitude to the Minister and, through him, to His Excellency the President for their support and stressed that if Africa is to realize its ambition to head the UNWTO – the first time in the history of the Organisation – the continent will need to remain united and committed in its support for the AU-endorsed candidate.
The ministers agreed to remain in close contact going forward and to intensify their cooperation both at bilateral and continental level as well as within the broader UNWTO framework.
At a bilateral level, the Ministers acknowledged that Zimbabwe and Kenya are natural cooperating partners in the tourism sector, and committed themselves to finalise an enabling bilateral Memorandum of Cooperation before the end of 2016.
Apart from intensifying the promotion of tourism between the two countries, the ministers agreed to investigate the possibility of enhanced cooperation in terms of existing air-links and related services between Zimbabwe and Kenya
Enhanced cooperation in the joint promotion of international conferences was also discussed. Within this context, Mzembi highlighted the possibilities for Kenyan investment and cooperation in the development of modern convention and conference facilities in the Victoria Falls Special Economic Zone.
The meeting ended with the Ministers agreeing that Mzembi would visit Kenya again in the near future in order to continue dialogue about enhancing bilateral tourism links and to share views on the future of global tourism under the umbrella of the UNWTO.