The non-governmental human rights group UN Watch expressed “grave disappointment” at the UN decision to make Zimbabwe co-host of a global tourism summit, which opens today in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, saying it’s a “disgraceful show of support — and a terribly-timed award of false legitimacy — for a brutal, corrupt and authoritarian regime.”
Yesterday at the UNWTO Regional Commission for Africa Zambia was in fact voted as the presidency for the Africa Commission until 2015. This vote was supported by all African countries, including South Africa, Zambia, Mali, Nigeria Tunisia and others.
Zimbabwe will also now become co- president, together with Zambia co-president, of the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) until 2015.
The UNWTO General Assembly event will start well with the highest attendance of 214 countries. This is the highest ever recorded for any UNWTO General Assembly.
The organizers had been going out of their way to make delegates from all over the world feel welcome.
Borders are open between the two countries to allow delegated to freely commute between venues and hotels in both countries.
Today’s social event in Zimbabwe however had problems. Delegates were invited to a bush party outside Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe. When arriving in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe cars were not available or out of gas. Three busses with UNWTO delegates got lost in the bush with local drivers not knowing where to find the dinner event and where they were. Delegates in these three busses arrived just on time to take the train back to Victoria Falls from the dinner venue. The train had to stop for 30 minutes half way, but delegates had a lot of fun on their way back. Plenty of beer helped of course.
Busses for Zambia hotels left leaving delegates stranded. It appears Zimbabwe organizers have to work hard to get up to speed with the efficient treatment delegates are receiving on the Zambia side of the border.
In Zambia delegates get a police escort and red lights or traffic have no influence on getting to venues.
Today the International Institute for Peace Through Tourism successfully re-designated their Peace Park at Victoria Falls on the Zambia side of the park.
King Abdullah II of Jordan donated a tree and delegates from around the globe as well as local tourism leaders attended. Zambia’s founding President Kenneth David Kaunda (born 28 April 1924), also known as KK, served as the first President of Zambia, from 1964 to 1991 attended the IIPT event.