Zimbabwe

Victoria Falls

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Ministers meet to plan tourism

Ministers meet to plan tourism

The Victoria Falls
The Victoria Falls
TOM VARLEY

All regional tourism roads have lately been leading to Victoria Falls, Livingstone and Chobe, known to planners as the ‘Four Corners’ of Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The SADC Ministers responsible for tourism and the 46th RETOSA, the Regional Tourism Organisation for Southern Africa board met in Livingstone, Zambia, in June. RETOSA is charged with promoting and marketing SADC as a single region with multiple destinations. It is an arm of the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC), comprised of public and private sector tourism representatives.

The meeting was convened to discuss a range of issues including Seychelles’ application to join the organization. “This is the time for Africa to stand with Africa and to promote platforms which nurture common growth,” said Alain St.Ange, chief executive of the Seychelles Tourism Board.

The ministers responsible for tourism in the SADC member states met to discuss and adopt the recommendations from the RETOSA board relating to policies and implementation programmes which promote regional tourism development.

The star of the Victoria Falls continues to shine as the ministers of Zambia and Zimbabwe proposed a bid for Victoria Falls and Livingstone to co-host the United Nations World Tourism Organisation general assembly meeting in 2013. This would be second meeting of its kind to be hosted by the Africa region (excluding 1995 in Cairo, Egypt, which falls under the Middle East in UNWTO regional geographical groupings). Membership of the organisation covers 161 countries and territories and more than 390 affiliate members.

UNWTO plays a catalytic role in promoting technology transfers and international co-operation, stimulating and developing public-private sector partnerships and in encouraging the implementation of the Global Code of Ethics for Tourism. Member countries, tourist destinations and businesses aim to maximize the positive economic, social and cultural effects of tourism and fully reap its benefits, while minimizing its negative social and environmental impacts.

Concurrently with these regional policy discussions, Green Tourism Services was contracted by RETOSA to carry out consultations with public and private sector players in identifying bottlenecks to free trade in tourism services across the SADC region. The tourism hotspot of the ‘Four Corners’ is a test case for regional integration and the generation of more tourism traffic to the region.

Read more articles from this issue:
Zambezi Traveller (Issue 06, Sept 2011)