Africa: Zambia new Chair of UNWTO Executive Council
Zambia has assumed chairmanship of the world global tourism body’s executive council during the current session of meetings taking place in Manama, Bahrain.
Ambassador Designate Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to France, Dr. Christine Kaseba, has presented her Letters of Credence to the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Secretary-General, Zurab Pololikashvili, at a special session in Bahrain.
Zambia becomes the second African country since 2010 to chair the UNWTO Executive Council with Ambassador Kaseba, the Permanent Representative to the UNWTO, leading proceedings at the ongoing 109th session on behalf of Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Mr. Charles Banda.
During her presentation of credentials held on Tuesday, October 30, 2018, Ambassador Kaseba acknowledged the organization’s management vision and priorities of making tourism a key sector for the 2030 Agenda based on smart, competitive, and responsible tourism for sustainable development.
Ambassador Kaseba said the government has identified tourism, arts, and culture as some of the priority growth sectors of the national economy towards development in the National-Vision 2030 aimed at turning Zambia into a “prosperous middle-income country by the year 2030.”
She is the former First Lady, wife of the late President Sata.
The Ambassador added that tourism had also been identified as one of the priority areas for investment due to its numerous forward and backward linkages to various other sectors of the economy.
Receiving the Letters of Credence, the UNWTO Secretary-General expressed interest to visit Zambia and further pledged to enhance multilateral relations with the country.
Ambassador Pololikashvili praised Zambia’s continued leadership in the organization and acknowledged its position as Chair of the Executive Council for the period 2019.
He further implored the Zambian envoy to work closely with the UNWTO Secretariat to see how the organization could help promote destination Zambia and increase the number of international tourists to the country.
UNWTO Secretary General Pololikashvili stressed that he shared a special relationship and love for Zambia, being the first African country he visited in 2013 during the 20th Session UNWTO General-Assembly that was co-hosted with Zimbabwe.
“Zambia’s tourism potential is rich with wildlife and culture which needs to be developed and make the country one of the best tourist destinations in Africa,” he said.
Furthermore, the UNWTO Secretary-General noted the need to work on a strategy that would help monitor tourist inflows into Zambia and how the tourism industry was contributing to Zambia’s economic development.
Speaking earlier during the official opening ceremony, Ambassador Kaseba commended the government of Bahrain for the massive infrastructure development and great achievements in tourism.
The Ambassador seized the opportunity to invite Bahrain’s Minister of Industry, Commerce and Tourism to visit Zambia and consider investing in tourism infrastructure in Zambia as there are many potential positive returns for both countries.
The Executive Council is the UNWTO’s governing board, responsible for ensuring that the organization carries out its work and adheres to its budget. It meets at least twice a year and is composed of Member States elected by the General Assembly in a ratio of one for every five Full Member States.
As host country of UNWTO’s headquarters, Spain has a permanent seat on the Executive Council. Representatives of the Associate Member States and Affiliate Member States participate in the Executive Council meetings as observers.
This is according to a statement issued by the First Secretary for Press, Yande Musonda.