Magazine article New African

Hosting the World's Tourism Leaders: With Zambia Co-Hosting the UN World Tourism Organisation General Assembly, We Asked Zambia's Minister of Tourism, Hon. Sylvia T. Masebo, Some Key Questions

Magazine article New African

Hosting the World's Tourism Leaders: With Zambia Co-Hosting the UN World Tourism Organisation General Assembly, We Asked Zambia's Minister of Tourism, Hon. Sylvia T. Masebo, Some Key Questions

Article excerpt

What does hosting the UNWTO General Assembly mean to Zambia?

This is a great honour for Zambia, to be the joint co-hosts with Zimbabwe. It is the first time the General Assembly is being held in Southern Africa and only its third time in Africa so this opportunity is extremely rare. Nothing beats the thrill of having a conference like the UNWTO General Assembly (the apex policy making body of UNWTO) at the location of the only natural wonder in Africa--the mighty Victoria Falls. I think that had a major bearing on winning the bid.

What benefit do you think this event will bring to Zambia and in particular to the tourism industry?

The hosting of the GA has resulted in the tourism sector receiving unprecedented attention since Independence and we are seeing for the first time investment in infrastructure development, including a new airport building, road resurfacing, street lighting, greening and painting of public buildings, the refurbishment of the hospital and much more, making Livingstone a worthy tourist capital, and a tourist destination of choice.

What has Zambia had to do in order to be ready for the event?

This is a national event and is not only the responsibility of my Ministry. Government has set up a National Steering Committee with various sub committees focusing on various components: Infrastructure development, information and communication, entertainment, security, transport, hospitality, and health--all handling different aspects.

What can local people do and see and experience during the event?

The GA itself is a closed function for delegates only, but we have prepared our people to understand this and have put in place many side events that ordinary citizens can be involved in: exhibitions, festivals, investment forums and opportunities to interact with delegates at activities such as tree planting and other social tours.

What long-term legacy and lasting impact do you feel this event will have on Zambia?

The renewed infrastructure will provide a positive impact for years to come. The local people are very supportive about keeping Livingstone clean and green. Livingstone will be a healthier community.

We have also trained taxi drivers, hoteliers, tour guides and other frontline staff, such as immigration and the police, on customer service. This is a lifelong skill that these people will use for the rest of their lives.

What impact do you feel the opening up of the Kenya Airways Livingstone-Nairobi route will have on tourism in the Livingstone area and in Zambia at large? …

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