A formal launch has been made of the candidature of Walter Mzembi, Minister of Tourism and the Hospitality Industry of the Republic of Zimbabwe, for post of Secretary General of United Nations World Tourism Organization [UNWTO].
The African Union-endorsed candidate for the post of Secretary General of UNWTO, Mzembi, Zimbabwe’s Minister of Tourism and the Hospitality Industry, and the current Chairperson of the UNWTO Regional Commission for Africa, is set to formally launch his candidature at a landmark reception event to be held in Madrid, Spain, on January 19, 2017.
The UNWTO has its headquarters in Madrid.
Invited guests include representatives of all UNWTO Member States, the Secretary General of the UNWTO, and all Executive Directors of the organization, as well as senior representatives of the Spanish Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Tourism.
The reception will take place at the prestigious Torre de Cristal, in the Four Towers central business district of downtown Madrid.
Unanimously endorsed by African Heads of State and Government at the AU Summit held in Kigali, Rwanda, in July, 2016, Mzembi thus assumed the mantle of Africa’s candidate for the top UNWTO post – a position which has never before been held by an African.
In its confirmatory letter of endorsement, addressed to the Secretary General of the UNWTO, the African Union Commission stated that:
“It is the firm conviction of African Heads of State and Government – as evidenced by their unanimous endorsement of Mzembi’s candidature – that he has the qualifications, skills and competence; the vision; and, equally as important, the drive and passion to successfully build on the remarkable legacy bequeathed to global tourism by Rifai, and to lead the organization and global tourism to new heights of relevance, recognition, and results –tourism being an effective vehicle for sustainable development, the building of deeper understanding between peoples and cultures, and for the reinforcement of the quest for greater global harmony and peace.”
Mzembi has served as Zimbabwe’s Minister of Tourism and the Hospitality Industry since 2009. Prior to that, he held various positions in both the public and private sectors in Zimbabwe and internationally, including heading the Zimbabwe delegation to the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly for three consecutive years.
He has represented his country on the UNWTO Executive Council and is currently serving his second consecutive term as Chairperson of the UNWTO’s Regional Commission for Africa.
Mzembi has a long-standing, deep, and abiding passion for tourism in all its many facets, as well as a well-defined and clearly articulated vision for the future development of the global tourism industry under the umbrella of the UNWTO.
The launch event in Madrid will provide an appropriate opportunity and platform for Mzembi to outline his vision and to provide an overview of how, if elected Secretary General, he intends to lead the UNWTO to those “new heights of relevance, recognition, and results.”