Mzembi loses in UNWTO secretary-general elections

TOURISM and Hospitality Industry minister Walter Mzembi yesterday lost to Zurab Pololikashvili of Georgia in elections to choose the new United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) secretary-general.

BY staff reporter

Walter Mzembi

Walter Mzembi

In the elections held in Madrid, Spain, Mzembi polled 15 votes against 18 votes garnered by the Georgian in the second round of voting after the first round failed to secure a clear winner. The minister was battling it with Márcio Favilla (Brazil), Jaime Alberto Cabal Sanclemente (Colombia), Pololikashvili (Georgia) and Young-shim Dho (South Korea) for the right to lead the UN tourism agency from 2018 to 2021. In the first round, Mzembi came first with 11 votes followed by the Georgian with 8 votes, Dho 7 votes, Favilla 4 votes and Sanclemente with 3 votes.

Mzembi had the backing of the African Union, one of the largest blocs with 10 of the 33 members of the UNWTO executive council.
The Georgian came first in the last round with the backing of South Asia and Colombia. Pololikashvili will succeed Jordanian Taleb Rifai, who is leaving at the end of the year after two terms at the helm.

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