Tourism Minister calls for harmonisation of UNWTO preparations

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——Minister of Tourism and Arts Sylvia Masebo says there was urgent need to harmonise United Nations World Tourism General Assembly (UNWTO) preparatory activities.

And Ms Masebo has maintained that it would be rational for her to resign if the UNWTO event would be a flop.

Speaking on a special programme on Falls  FM radio in Livingstone yesterday, Ms Masebo noted that it was important to strengthen collaboration between local and national Organizing Committees so as to speed up works.

She pointed out that both committees need to harmonise their activities and prevent duplication so that the preparations pace is quickened.

She pointed out that the current coordination between the local and National Organising committees was not effective enough to expedite preparation for the event.

“I have noted that the poor coordination between the Local and National Organising committee is not effective enough to ensure that preparations are expedited. And I would like to see a situation where activities or plans between the two committees are harmonized to prevent duplication of efforts”, said Ms Masebo.

She also disclosed that a meeting between the two committees has since been called this weekend to iron out and harmonise activities of the committees and speed up preparation works for the prestigious event.

The 20th session of the UNWTO will be co-hosted between Zambia and Zimbabwe in August this year and is expected to attract more than 4,000 delegates from different member countries.

Ms Masebo also said Zambia has the capacity to create more than 300,000 jobs in the tourism industry if efforts are doubled in aggressively marketing the country’s tourist attractions to new potential markets like Spain and Germany.

“The country has the potential to create even more than 300,000 jobs in the tourism industry only if efforts are doubled to tap into the new markets like Spain or Germany  and at the same time maintaining our already existing markets like the United Kingdom,” said Ms Masebo.

She also observed that the active involvement of private sector in the tourism industry was indispensable for the country to achieve its objective of expanding the sector and thereby creating more jobs.

And Ms Masebo said she was ready to resign if the event becomes unsuccessful.

She said it would be very disappointing if the country fails to hold the event after government injected a lot of money towards the preparation.

“If come August the event is a flop and I embarrass the President, I would rather resign,” said Ms Masebo.

But Ms Masebo said she was confident that all the capital projects such as roads, markets and other infrastructure would be completed before August and urged implementing agencies to ensure that they do not compromise with the timeframe.

“I have been told by several implementing agencies including the Road Development Agency to stop having High Blood Pressure (BP) because everything is on course and will be ready before August and I just pray and believe that the assurances will translate into tangible results,” Ms Masebo said.

Meanwhile, Ms Masebo has urged the youths to celebrate their Day and not be swayed by politicians to shun the event.