Friday, March 29, 2013

UNWTO assembly will benefit SMEs - Tomas

UNWTO assembly will benefit SMEs - Tomas
By Gift Chanda and Edwin Mbulo
Fri 29 Mar. 2013, 14:00 CAT

ZAMBIA and Zimbabwe should work hard towards making the UNWTO General Assembly a success because of its benefits to the two host countries, a senior UNWTO executive has said.

Helder Tomas, the UNWTO deputy director for Africa region, said the general assembly in August stood to boost the small and medium enterprises (SMEs) sector in Zambia and Zimbabwe as well as give the two countries an opportunity to market themselves as ultimate tourism destinations.

The two countries will co-host the 20th session of the UNWTO General Assembly from August 24 to August 29 in Victoria Falls Town and Livingstone.

"We are expecting delegates from all over the world. From America, Asia, the Middle East…all of them heading to Zambia and Zimbabwe and all of them are to be transported, entertained, fed and accommodated and that brings along a number of opportunities for Zambia and Zimbabwe's SMEs," Tomas said on Wednesday.

"It also gives a unique opportunity for the promotion of the Victoria Falls, the promotion of Zambia, Zimbabwe and Africa as a tourism destination. Therefore, we need to really work together to make this event successful."

On the just-ended regional media workshop, Tomas said the UNWTO was satisfied that the objectives of highlighting to journalists the deeper meaning of tourism were achieved.

A Nigerian delegate, Ikechi Uko said participants had been enriched with a paradigm shift in tourism reporting.

Meanwhile, information deputy minister Mwansa Kapeya urged the media in Africa to take a leading role in telling the continent's success stories to the outside world.

Kapeya said there were many good happenings in Africa which unfortunately had largely gone untold and, therefore, unheard.

He said the international media's perception of Africa had often focused on the negative side of the continent such as poverty and crime.

"The lesson from this is that the world owes us no obligation to market our continent, hence it is Africa's duty to tell its own story to the outside world. I therefore implore the media on the continent to lead the way in telling Africa's success stories," said Kapeya.

He, however, noted that the media could not tell stories and educate the public unless they were informed and educated first.

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