The United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) General Assembly will be a springboard for the development of tourism in Zambia, according to the Deputy Minister of Tourism and Art David Phiri.
Mr Phiri led a six-member Zambian delegation on a 10-day USA tour to learn best practices in planning a global conference, creating partnerships, and using the conference as a springboard to develop Zambia’s travel and tourism industries.
Zambia and Zimbabwe will co-host the 20th Session of UNWTO General Assembly from 24th to 29th August, this year.
Speaking in New York, Mr Phiri said the Patriotic Front (PF) Government was “extremely committed” to the successful hosting of the UNWTO and had provided sufficient resources for the preparations.
“This is the conference that will help give Zambia visibility. We want to capitalise on this conference to benefit our country in long term,” the Deputy Minister said.
“His Excellency, Mr Michael Sata’s declaration of Livingstone as a tourist capital is very important for Zambia.”
Mr Phiri said the PF Government had declared the tourism sector as a key segment for the diversification of the Zambian economy.
“Through the tourism sector, we want to create 350, 000 jobs within the next three or four years,” he said.
Mr Phiri explained that the US Government is helping Zambia with the know-how on managing mega global conference.
The Zambian delegation held meetings in Washington DC, Philadelphia and New York.
Others in the delegation are Zambia Tourism Board (ZTB) managing director Felix Chaila, Livingstone Town Clerk Vivien Chikoti, Regional Tourism Development Co-ordinator Harold Mweene, Southern Province chief regional planning co-ordinator Linda Siwale and UNWTO Taskforce member Annie Nyirenda Tischer.
“The US is an important market for tourism and we have taken advantage of our coming here to market Zambia to the American community. I have no doubt in my mind that the response arising from this engagement is going to begin to take root,” said Mr Phiri.
About 400 international businesses and 3,000 delegates are expected to attend the UNWTO.
Mr Phiri and his delegation met Zambia’s Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador Dr Mwaba Kasese-Bota and the diplomatic staff in New York on Tuesday.