Saturday, January 31, 2015

The World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) has praised the Zambian government for her continued efforts in the development of tourism in the country. This came to light when Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism and Arts Mr. Stephen Mwansa held a meeting with Mr. Zoltán Somogyi Executive Director for Programme and Coordination on the sideline of the ongoing 35th edition of FITUR Spanish Annual International Tourism Fair. Mr. Mwansa met with Mr. Somogyi to discuss among other tourism issues Zambia’s desire to get into the UNWTO Executive Council which is UNWTO’s governing board, responsible for ensuring that the ‎Organization carries out its work and adheres to its budget. During the meeting the Permanent Secretary informed Mr. Somogyi that Zambia was last a member of the Executive Council in 1980 when the country’s tourism was viewed as a social sector and since then government has reclassified the tourism sector to be an economic sector and placed it as third after Mining and Agriculture among the most important sectors in the country that would help in the overall economic development of the country.

In response Mr. Somogyi said UNWTO has been following with king interest how Zambia is developing its tourism sector and as witnessed during the preparation and successful co-hosting of the 20th Session of the UNWTO General Assembly in 2013 there is no doubt that the government of Zambia has recognized the importance of tourism and the benefits the sector can contribute to the economic development of the country. “Permanent Secretary I visited Zambia during most of the time in 2013 during the preparations of the general Assembly and I am a witness to the strides your government is making in developing the industry I can assure you that UNWTO stands with you and will offer you the support that you need in the development of the sector” said Mr. Somogyi. He further thanked the Permanent Secretary for making a decision to bid to be elected to the Executive Council. “Permanent Secretary I must congratulate your country for making this important decisions and once elected to the council I am sure Zambia will bring a positive voice and contribute immensely to the business of the Executive Council in the development of tourism in the world”.

The Permanent Secretary is in Madrid standing in for the Minister of Tourism and Arts Hon Jean Kapata MP who has accompanied His Excellency President Lungu to the African Union. Mr. Mwansa is leading a delegation to Spain accompanied senior officials from the Ministry of Tourism and Arts the Zambia Tourism Board, the Hotel and Tourism Training Institute Trust and have been joined by officials from the Zambian Mission in Paris headed by the Charge D’Affaires Ms. Philomena Kachesa. Hon. Jean Kapata MP was invited by the UNWTO to attend the 35th edition of FITUR Annual International Tourism Fair, which is taking place from 28th January, to 2nd February, 2015. FITUR is a comprehensive meeting point for tourism professionals and the leading trade fair for inbound and outbound Ibero American markets.

In 2014-confirming the recovery trend in the industry- Towards 9,083 exhibiting companies from 165 countries / regions , trade participants 120.231 and 97.549 people from the General public, met During FITUR to transform leisure into business and business into development. , Moreover Among the participation figures of note was the Presence of 7,368 Journalists from 60 country clubs, a turnout That Demonstrates the Importance of FITUR on the international circuit of tourism industry events.

The Permanent Secretary and his delegation are expected to wrap up the working visit to Madrid with a technical tour of various selected tourism products and services in Madrid and are expected back in Zambia on 2nd January, 2015.

Issued by:

Percy Mabvuto Ngwira (Mr.)

UNWTO Liaison Officer for Zambia Madrid, Spain

Tel: +33 – 56881270 Email: [email protected]