Minister of Tourism Charles Banda has arrived in China for the 22nd United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) General Assembly taking place from September 11 to 16, 2017.

In a statement today, Zambia’s Ambassador to France Humphrey Chibanda said that the Minister would also co-chair the 106th executive council session which would be opened prior to the General Assembly as the first vice chair.

“The General Assembly of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) will hold its twenty-second Session in Chengdu, China as agreed with the host country, the meetings of the Assembly will take place from 11 to 16 September 2017 at the Intercontinental Century City Chengdu Convention Center. The Minister and his delegation have a busy schedule that includes; co-chairing the 106th Executive Council Session as 1st Vice Chair of the Council of the 106th Session Executive Council which will be held prior to the opening of the 22nd Session General Assembly,” Ambassador Chibanda stated.

“The Minister and his delegation will also attend the 60th meeting of the Commission for Africa which is a subsidiary organ of the UNWTO that brings together all member states from the African continent to discuss tourism development issues on the continent. In addition, Zambia will be seeking to be elected as Chair of the UNWTO Executive Council at its 107th Session for the year 2018 after having served as 1st Vice Chair in 2017. At its 104th Session held in Luxor, Egypt, Zambia was elected as 1st Vice Chair of the Council for 2017,” Ambassador Chibanda stated.

Ambassador Chibanda, who is also Permanent Representative to the UNWTO, revealed that the General Assembly was very important for Zambia as it would nominate a candidate for the position of Secretary General for the period 2018-2021.

“This will be an important Session for Zambia, as it is during this Session that a nominated candidate will be elected by the UNWTO General Assembly for the position of Secretary-General for the period 2018-2021 currently held by Dr Taleb Rifai and whose term of office comes to an end in December 2017. And in her quest for sustainable economic development, Zambia shall endeavor to explore and leverage economic diplomacy that will benefit most Zambians and contribute to poverty alleviation by the strengthening of her presence in multilateral organisations such as UNWTO given that tourism is a key sector in Zambia`s economic development,” stated Ambassador Chibanda.

And Ambassador Chibanda reiterated that in line with Zambia’s quest to increase the presence in international diplomacy, Zambia shall continue seeking to provide leadership in various international organisations.

The Minister who has been accompanied by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism Dr Liya Nawa Mutale, Zambia’s Ambassador to France Humphrey Chibanda and other technical officers is expected back in Zambia on September 17, 2017.