Colombia hosts next Unwto

Colombia has been elected to host the next United Nations World Tourism Organization assembly.

Colombia obtained 60 votes while Cambodia which was also biding to host the event got 38 votes.

Arnold Tutu reports from Livingstone that twenty two member countries were absent during the election.

Zimbabwe’s Minister of Tourism and hospitality industry Walter Mzembi has announced the results during the fifth plenary session held at the Royal Livingstone Hotel.

The next general assembly will be held in September 2.015.

President Michael Sata has cautioned that as African countries strive to promote tourism, they must protect the environment and safeguard their cultural heritage.

Mr. Sata says African countries must be astute to make minimal impact on the environment and local culture while helping to generate employment for local people.

The President says the aim of sustainable tourism is to ensure that development brings a positive experience for local people, tourism companies and the tourists themselves.

Mr. Sata notes that as the tourism sector continues to grow it will place great stress on remaining biologically diverse habitats and indigenous cultures, which are often used to support mass tourism

He says countries therefore have a duty to protect their environment and cultures as they promote tourism.

President Sata was speaking Livingstone on Wednesday evening when he and President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe closed the 20th General Assembly of the UNWTO which was co-hosted by Zambia and Zimbabwe.

And President Sata says  interaction between tourist and local communities can help promote  global peace.

He says however noted the need to protect nature and Africa’s cultural heritage  from human activity .

Mr. Sata says  Zambia and Zimbabwe will regulatory and tax environment to promote investment in the tourism sector so that the two countries can become international tourist destinations.

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe took a swipe at western nations for making attempts to scare delegates from attending the 20th Unwto general assembly jointly hosted by Zambia and Zimbabwe.

He says one website in London allegedly published an article warning delegates that there would be a bomb at the general assembly.

Mr. Mugabe says he is also surprised that Washington issued a statement warning that visiting the Victoria falls was dangerous.

But Mr. Mugabe says Africa seeks peace and good neighborliness.

He says those who seek harm should visit the Victoria falls to be inspired and have their minds transformed.

And Unwto secretary General Tarif Rifai says the growth of tourism can have a positive ripple effect on the economy for better education and jobs for young people.

He has advised members states to protect nature saying because humanity depends on it.

And Tourism Minister Sylvia Masebo says Unwto members must work hard to ensure that tourism benefits the poor.

Berny Polanía

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