Published on : Monday, January 16, 2017
The African Union-endorsed candidate for the post of Secretary General of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation, UNWTO, Dr. Walter Mzembi, Zimbabwe’s Minister of Tourism and the Hospitality Industry, and the current Chairperson of the UNWTO Regional Commission for Africa, is set to formally launch his candidature at a landmark reception event to be held in Madrid, Spain on 19 January, 2017.
The UNWTO has its Headquarters in Madrid. Invited guests include representatives of all UNWTO Member States, the Secretary-General of the UNWTO and all Executive Directors of the Organisation, as well as senior representatives of the Spanish Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Tourism.
The reception will take place at the prestigious Torre de Cristal, in the Four Towers central business district of downtown Madrid.
Unanimously endorsed by African Heads of State and Government at the AU Summit held in Kigali, Rwanda in July, 2016, Dr Mzembi thus assumed the mantle of Africa’s candidate for the top UNWTO post – a position which has never before been held by an African.
In its confirmatory letter of endorsement, addressed to the Secretary-General of the UNWTO, the African Union Commission stated that, “ It is the firm conviction of African Heads of State and Government – as evidenced by their unanimous endorsement of Dr Mzembi’s candidature – that he has the qualifications, skills and competence, the vision and, equally as important, the drive and passion to successfully build on the remarkable legacy bequeathed to global tourism by His Excellency Dr Rifai, and to lead the Organisation and global tourism to new heights of relevance, recognition and results – tourism being an effective vehicle for sustainable development, the building of deeper understanding between peoples and cultures and for the reinforcement of the quest for greater global harmony and peace”.
Dr. Mzembi has served as Zimbabwe’s Minister of Tourism and the Hospitality Industry since 2009. Prior to that, he held various positions in both the public and private sectors in Zimbabwe and internationally – including heading the Zimbabwe delegation to the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly for three consecutive years.
He has represented his country on the UNWTO Executive Council and is currently serving his second consecutive term as Chairperson of the UNWTO’s Regional Commission for Africa.
Dr. Mzembi has a long-standing, deep and abiding passion for tourism in all its many facets, as well as a well-defined and clearly articulated vision for the future development of the global tourism industry under the umbrella of the UNWTO.
The launch event in Madrid will provide an appropriate opportunity and platform for Dr Mzembi to outline his vision and to provide an overview of how, if elected Secretary General, he intends to lead the UNWTO to those “new heights of relevance, recognition and results”.