Zimbabwe’s Minister of Tourism and Hospitality Industry, Doctor Engr Walter Mzembi, who is in Cairo, Egypt, on his UNWTO campaign trail, had a fruitful engagement with his Egyptian counterpart, His Excellency Mohamed Yehia Rahed.
The two ministers discussed, among other key strategic issues, the implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on cooperation in the field of tourism signed between the two countries in December 2014.
Speaking after the meeting, Minister Mzembi revealed that they had agreed on the setting up of the Joint Tourism Technical Committee (JTTC), which will be instrumental in the operationalization and full implementation of the MOU.
“We are definitely excited about our engagements here, and one key thing that was at the epicentre of our discussions was the urgent need to set up a Joint Tourism Technical Committee that will spearhead the operationalization of our MOU with Egypt. There are various programs that will be implemented in the context of our MOU. One such key program is the agreed Egypt Tourism Week to be held in February 2017 in Zimbabwe and the Zimbabwe Tourism Week in Egypt in April 2017 which, essentially, is a reciprocal event,” said Minister Mzembi.
The Minister added, “This initiative, apart from cementing relations between the two countries, helps to boost tourism promotion and enhances cultural ties that are key in sustainable tourism development as this will be undertaken by tour operators, travel agencies, and the media, among other key stakeholders.”
The Egyptian Minister of Tourism, His Excellency Mohamed Yehia Rahed, said his government is keen to see the full implementation of the bilateral tourism pact.
“We are happy to be hosting Minister Mzembi and his delegation in Egypt. There is indeed need to advance close cooperation especially in the field of tourism as espoused in our signed MOU. Africa must do more in the areas of joint marketing and promotion activities if we are to increase our market share in terms of tourism global arrivals,” said His Excellency Rahed.
The meeting also discussed how Egypt has successfully managed to sustain its tourism industry, which is a major contributor to the economic growth of this influential North African country. This has successfully happened against the backdrop of residual concerns about security. It is an experience that could be shared with others on the continent and beyond.
The two ministers also agreed to work assiduously towards an early resumption of direct air-links between Cairo and Harare as this is largely viewed as a critical success factor in spurring tourism growth in both countries.
Egypt is the headquarters of the Arab League, a very strategic organization of Arab states which has enormous influence on all its membership from Africa to the Middle East.