African Union — Endorsed candidate Walter Mzembi will attend two meetings in Switzerland and Azerbaijan this week to drum up support in the last lap of his campaign for the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) secretary general’s post.
BY NDAMU SANDU
Elections to choose a successor to Jordanian Taleb Rifai will be held on May 11 and 12 in Madrid, Spain.
Mzembi will fight it out with five other candidates — Márcio Favilla (Brazil), Jaime Alberto Cabal Sanclemente (Colombia), Zurab Pololikashvili (Georgia), Young-shim Dho (South Korea) and Alain St. Ange from Seychelles to head the organisation from 2018 to 2021.
Rifai has been at the helm of the global tourism body for eight years.
Co-head of the UNWTO campaign secretariat, Douglas Mavhembu, yesterday told NewsDay from Switzerland that Mzembi would attend the World Tourism Forum, an international think-tank for tourism policy makers and speakers from around the world. The forum is being held from May 4 to 5 in the Swiss city of Lucerne.
A number of thematic areas focusing on the future of travel and tourism industry will be discussed as well as the creation of a common understanding on sustainable tourism development looking at the UN’s 17 sustainable development goals.
It will be addressed by Rifai and Retto Wittwer, chairperson of the advisory board the World Tourism Forum Lucerne among others.
Mavhembu said Mzembi was expected to participate at a high level roundtable discussion by ministers from all over the world.
“The minister will take advantage of the high level forum to pitch highly his campaign to become the next secretary general after Dr Rifai. This will be an opportunity for the minister to share with global leaders of the future evolution of UNWTO, a global agency of the UN,” he said.
“This will be the last push at the highest possible level to make so that we win resoundingly.”
After the forum, Mzembi will head to Baku, Azerbaijan for the international cultural heritage conference. The conference is organised by Azerbaijan in conjunction with Unesco and other UN agencies and runs from May 5 to 6.
Mavhembu said the conference would be a high level event and an opportunity for Mzembi to “drum up support as we go to the elections”.
The team will leave for Madrid on May 7.
Mavhembu said his team was confident of victory after covering a lot of ground in the past one year and “history was in the making”.