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SADC must utilize Mzembi to transform regional tourism

27 Sep 2022 at 16:03hrs | Views
The SADC region is endowed with several tourist attractions, wonderful fauna and flora and the region has a tranquil environment with a warm and welcoming people.

The region has not fully utilized all its resources to grow the tourism industry in SADC. The region needs to tap into the brains and prowess of Walter Mzembi who served as Tourism Minister in Zimbabwe under Robert Mugabe.

The independent thinking and no nonsense Walter Mzembi was born to a Ndebele mother and a Karanga father, he was one of the few lucky ones who got to be mentored by the legendary Edson Jonasi Mudadirwa Zvobgo.

Masvingo South was the political territory of the legendary national hero Edson Zvobgo . Zvobgo served the constituency from 1980 to 2004 . When Zvobgo passed on the constituency was handed over to a young , capable protege of the national hero who happened to be Engineer , Dr. Walter Mzembi.

The 58 year old Mzembi enjoyed an illustrious career as Minister of Tourism in Zimbabwe.

Under his tenure as Minister of Tourism Mzembi helped organize the UN World Tourism Organization general assembly which was jointly hosted by Zimbabwe and Zambia in 2013.

Mzembi built a powerful reputation and relationships that helped him as he discharged his duties as Minister of Tourism. Mzembi earned the respect of his counterparts in Africa and across the globe in the tourism sector.

In 2017 Mzembi won the mandate to represent Africa as the candidate of the African Union for the position of the 2018-21 Secretary-General of the World Tourism Organization.

Mzembi as Tourism Minister gave relevance and power to the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority resulting in ZTA introducing innovative programs to boost Zimbabwe's tourism sector.

Mzembi's efforts got Zimbabwe ranked number 14 must visit destination by the New York Times.

Mzembi's proficiency got him to the global echelons of tourism where he is now a former member of the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Executive Council, and he is the former UNWTO Regional Commission for Africa Chairperson, comprising 54 African countries and their respective tourism ministers.

Soon after his election to parliament in 2004 he was appointed Head of the Zimbabwe Delegation to the African-Caribbean and Pacific- European Union (ACP-EU) Joint Parliamentary Assembly in Europe.

Mzembi has expertly championed tourism development in Africa, and advanced tourism policy at the African Union level for mainstreaming into the AU Agenda 2063.

Dr Mzembi is a recipient of numerous national and international accolades and awards, amongst them African Tourism Minister of the Year (2011), Public Service Manager of the Year (2012, Zimbabwe Institute of Management), three time President of the New York based Africa Travel Association (ATA), and International Board Member of the Berlin based Institute of Cultural Diplomacy (ICD).

With such a CV Mzembi could bring in innovation in the tourism sector at regional level. SADC needs to leverage on such talent to come up with a regional plan to harness the potential of the tourism industry.

Source - Nicholas Ncube
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