TOURISM and Arts Minister Charles Banda is today expected in Madrid, Spain for various high-level meetings with the Uniten Nationa World Tourism Organisation(UNWTO) Secretariat and the Spanish government.
The Minister will be accompanied by Permanent Secretary Stephen Mwansa, Director of Tourism in charge of the Department of Tourism Reuben Zulu, Zambia Tourism Agency Chief Executive Officer Felix Chaila, Hotel and Tourism Training Institute Trust Executive Director Dr Wilson Silungwe.
The minister will also be joined by officials from Ministry of Commerce Trade and Industry, Zambia Development Agency and the private sector that includes Stannic group Techtrade Limited among others.
Mr Banda and his delegation will be joined by officials from the Zambian Mission in Paris to be headed by Zambia’s Ambassador accredited to Spain and Permanent Representative to UNWTO Humphrey Chibanda.
According to the Minister’s working programme prepared by the Zambian Embassy in Paris, France, Zambia’s Ambassador to France also accredited to Spain Mr Chibanda stated that the Minister and his delegation will be in Spain at the invitation of the UNWTO Secretary General Dr Taleb Rifai and the Spanish government to attend the Spanish International Tourism Fair FITUR and INVESTOUR.
Ambassador Chibanda reiterated that in line with Zambia’s quest for economic diplomacy the trip was an important one given that the government has prioritised the tourism sector and seeks to develop and promote it as an economic sector that would contribute greatly to the sustainable economic development of the country.
In her quest for sustainable economic development, Zambia shall endeavour to explore and leverage on any opportunities that will benefit most Zambians and contribute to poverty alleviation.
Zambia as an active member of the UNWTO and the First Vice Chair of the organisation’s governing board ‘the Executive Council’ shall continue to strengthen multilateral collaboration with the organisation for mutual benefit.
In addition, Zambia and Spain would seek to strengthen economic relations that translate into synergies between the two countries for mutual economic benefits.
Mr Banda and the delegation has a busy schedule that includes; a working reception at the Palace with all UNWTO member states Ministers of Tourism to be hosted by His Majesty the King of the Kingdom of Spain, His Majesty King Felipe VI.
The Minister would further join other Ministers responsible for tourism at a working lunch reception to be hosted by Dr Rifai in honour of President of Honduras Juan Orlando Hernández and Giorgi Kvirikashvili, Prime Minister of Georgia who will be on a working visit to the UNWTO Headquarters.
According to the Ministry of Tourism and Arts Public Relations Officer Sakabilo Kalembwe,the Minister will also be making a presentation on Zambia’s tourism industry investment opportunities at the 4th Zambia-Spain investment forum organised by the Zambian Mission in Paris working in collaboration with the Madrid Chamber of Commerce.
Mr Kalembwe said the Minister and the delegation will also present tourism investment opportunities at the VIII Tourism Investment and Business Forum for Africa – INVESTOUR.
As the new First Vice-Chair of the UNWTO Executive Council which is the organisations governing board, the Minister will hold high-level meetings with Dr Rifai and then tour the UNWTO Headquarters.
In addition the Minister will meet with Abulfaz Garayev Azerbaijan, Minister of Culture and Tourism who is the Chair of the Executive Council to discuss the UNWTO programme of work for the one year term in which Zambia and Azerbaijan will preside over the affairs of the Organisation.
The minister and the delegation will also be among the dignitaries that have been invited to the launch of 2017 as International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development in accordance with the United Nations 70th General Assembly Resolution No. A/RES/70/193.
At the bilateral level, the Minister is expected to hold meetings with his counterpart at the Spanish Ministry of Tourism and Energy to explore the possibility of signing a Tourism Memorandum of Understanding.
Additionally, the Zambian delegation will also hold a meeting with the organisers of the Spanish International Fair FITUR to explore how Zambia Tourism Agency could collaborate with them to enhance the Zambia Tourism Expo (ZATEX).
The Minister will also be holding a Zambia Let’s Explore information forum with some key selected international media and Spanish tour operators interested in destination Africa.
The minister is also expected to have interviews with selected Spanish and International electronic and print travel media.
The Minister’s delegation will wrap up the working visit to Madrid with a technical tour of various selected tourism products and services in Madrid that includes a visit to one of the famous Spanish concept the Paradores. Thereafter, the delegation will return to Zambia.