Harare — Zimbabwe is hosting a Sadc conference on tourism development starting today as the region moves to craft ways on how it can draw maximum benefits from South Africa’s hosting of the 2010 soccer World Cup.
Vice President Joice Mujuru will deliver the key-note address to officially open the two-day event at the Rainbow Towers in Harare. The conference is being held under the banner “Technical Meeting on Culture, Tourism and Development”.
Sadc, in collaboration with the African Union and the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation, organised the two-day conference. Acting Minister of Tourism and Hospitality Francis Nhema and Education, Sport, Arts and Culture Minister David Coltart will also attend.
A 70-member Sadc delegation, led by Stephen Sianga, Director Social and Human Development at the Sadc Secretariat, is in the country for the conference. All Sadc countries have sent their permanent secretaries from different ministries to attend the conference.
A total of 130 delegates from Zimbabwe, among them Swedish Ambassador to Zimbabwe Mr Sten Rylander, will also take part at this major tourism event. Speakers at the conference will present various arts and culture thematic papers in relation to tourism development. Thematic topics to be discussed include Fifa World Cup Opportunities for Cultural Tourism, Communication Strategies for Promoting Cultural Tourism and Marketing and Branding Strategy for Promoting Cultural Tourism among many others.
Delegates will be grouped to discuss different thematic issues and then later return to the floor to present and further digest with other findings from group work. Speaking on arrival at the Harare International Airport Mr Sianga said the region sought to prepare for the upcoming global events, mainly the World Cup and also the African Cup of Nations next year.
“We have come to attend the conference to get the region set for upcoming global events such as the World Cup and the African Cup of Nations. Sadc will be busy during this time as it will receive a lot of visitors, especially considering that the World Cup has come to Africa for the first time in history. “If we are better prepared we will be able to showcase our cultural heritage and therefore be able to attract more tourists.
“This conference is a platform to explore various strategies on how we can create synergies to promote cultural tourism in Sadc,” said Mr Sianga. ZTA spokesperson Mr Sugar Chagonda said the development of the arts and culture was crucial considering that they were vestiges of our past critical for the promotion of tourism in the Sadc region.
“If we can share ideas on how we can promote arts and culture we will be able to do well on the tourism front,” said Mr Chagonda.