Saturday, November 26, 2011

(TALKZIMBABWE) Biti sabotages WTO

Biti sabotages WTO
Posted by By Professor Tshuma at 26 November, at 06 : 21 AM

FINANCE Minister Tendai Biti failed to recognize the importance of the World Tourism Organisation General Assembly which is to be co-hosted by Zimbabwe and Zambia in 2013 by failing to allocate funds for the refurbishment of Victoria Falls airport.

In his 2012 budget presentation, Biti allocated US$10 million for Joshua Mqabukho Nkomo Airport and US$7, 5 million for the Harare International Airport and could not give even a single cent to the Victoria Falls Airport.

The conference will take place in Vic Falls and analysts say the airport should be refurbished in preparations for the General Assembly.

He allocated money to the Victoria Falls Town Council saying the money should be used for the preparations of the WTO General Assembly.

An official from the Ministry of Transport, Communication and Infrastructural Development who asked for anonymity said the Minister deliberately left out the Vic Falls for a purpose he knows.

He said the Vic Falls airport was at the epicenter of the event as the event will be held in Victoria Falls and it was a clear cut prerequisite that it needed to be supported.

“We were all expecting him to give the Vic Falls airport some money for refurbishment because it is really in a sorry state,” he said.

“The airport is the receiving port of the visitors and there was no reason of leaving it out.

“Yes he gave the Vic Falls town council some money but it can not be extended to the airport as the town also needs to refurbish itself and not the airport.”

In a related development, the Ministry of Tourism and Hospitality Industry has revealed the establishment of a tourist visa (Univisa) for the Southern Africa Development Community which should become reality by 2013.

This means a Sadc Univisa will coincide with the co-hosting of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation General Assembly conference by Zimbabwe and Zambia.

Acting director for Domestic Tourism Directorate in the Ministry Mr. Douglas Runyowa said notwithstanding complications inherent with coming up with a multi-nation visa, players in the region were targeting to have a Univisa in the next couple of years.

“The tourism sector believes that a single visa (Univisa) for Sadc will considerably improve ease of travel and the flow of visitors to and within the region.

“Despite the complexities that come with opening up markets of sovereign countries to unhindered tourist flow, the region is targeting to have the Univisa by 2013. In terms of its establishment, we will also draw lessons from experiences from other regions where such initiatives have been set up,” he said.

Runyowa, however, added that if the 2013 deadline is missed there would at least be (by then) a provisional tourist visa for the transfrontier park between Zimbabwe, Zambia, Namibia, Angola and Botswana.

Southern Africa’s tourist draw cards include wildlife, a rich variety of wilderness areas and natural wonders of the world, sandy beaches, mountain ranges and a rich historical and cultural heritage which straddle across national borders.

To this extent, tourism players in the region believe that the Univisa can facilitate the entry of international and domestic tourists to the region, hence positively benefiting the respective economy member countries in terms of job creation, financial impact (revenue to the tourism sector and balance of payments improvement), fiscal revenue and growth in national Gross Domestic Product.

The Sadc Univisa initiative is being driven by the Regional Tourism Organisation of Southern Africa (Retosa), a body that brings together the 14 Sadc members including Angola, Botswana, DR Congo, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Meanwhile, Retosa’s 47th ordinary board meeting began in Bulawayo yesterday.

Zimbabwe is the outgoing chair of Retosa while Mozambique is the incoming chair.

Acting Director for International Tourism Directorate in the Tourism Ministry Douglas Mavhembu last week said the Retosa meeting would help the country in engaging regional support for the country’s hosting of the 2013 UNWTO General Assembly conference.

“The 47th ordinary Retosa board meeting is being held at a time when Zimbabwe and Zambia have just won their bid to co-host the 20th session of the UNWTO General Assembly.

“What this means is that the forthcoming General Assembly is a regional affair, and both Zimbabwe and Zambia would like to leverage on expertise, solidarity and support from every single member of Sadc/Retosa to ensure the success of the event,” he said.

Labels: ,


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home