Zambia’s Tourism and Arts Minister Charles Banda has congratulated Zurab Pololikashvili of Georgia for being elected  nominee for the post of United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Secretary-General, beating Zimbabwe’s Dr Walter Mzembi.

Pololikashvili, the Georgian Ambassador to Spain who is also Permanent Representative to the UNWTO emerged winner with 18 votes against 15 for the Zimbabwean Minister of Tourism and Hospitality Industry Dr.  Mzembi during the election at the just-ended 105th Executive Council Session in Madrid, Spain.

In the first round, Pololikashvili polled eight votes, three less than Dr. Mzembi but since the 11 votes gained by the Zimbabwean candidate fell short of the required 17 votes for a simple majority, the two candidates were subjected to another vote in which the Georgian emerged winner.

The recommended candidate, Pololikashvili, will be submitted to the 22nd UNWTO General Assembly for ratification between 11 and 16 September 2017 in Chengdu, China.

According the rules of procedure of the UNWTO General Assembly, specifically rule 53 – appointment of the Secretary-General. The recommended candidate will be appointed for a period of four years by the General Assembly by a two-thirds majority of the full Members present and voting.

The election for the nominee for the post of Secretary-General for the period 2018 to 2021 attracted seven candidates namely, Vahan Martirosyan from Armenia, Brazil’s Márcio Favilla, Jaime Alberto Cabal Sanclemente (Colombia), Pololikashvili, Ms Young-shim Dho (South Korea), Alain St. Ange (Seychelles) and Mzembi.

Banda is First Vice-Chair of the Council and co-chaired the Council meetings that were fully attended by all 33 Executive Council members plus more than 250 representatives from 59 UNWTO member states, including representatives of the Associate Members and Affiliate ‎Members.

Banda thanked Zambia’s Ambassador to France who is also the country’s Permanent Representative to the UNWTO for his active participation in the UNWTO activities and meetings. The Minister and his delegation have since returned home.