En­voys de­scend on Vic Falls

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Worldwide - Leonard Ncube in Victoria Falls

NINE am­bas­sadors sec­onded to Namibia from dif­fer­ent coun­tries world­wide in­clud­ing Zimbabwe yes­ter­day vis­ited Victoria Falls in an ini­tia­tive meant to mar­ket the Ka­van­goZam­bezi (Kaza) Trans Fron­tier Con­ser­va­tion area.

Zimbabwe am­bas­sador to Namibia, Mrs Ro­fina Chikava, led the 20-mem­ber del­e­ga­tion which com­prised nine am­bas­sadors from France, Nige­ria, Ghana, An­gola, Libya, Botswana, Zam­bia and Al­ge­ria as well as rep­re­sen­ta­tives from the United Na­tions.

The del­e­ga­tion toured the Rain­for­est and the Victoria Falls Bridge, which are the ma­jor tourist at­trac­tions for Zam­bia and Zimbabwe, be­fore go­ing for a boat cruise and other ac­tiv­i­ties.

The del­e­ga­tion trav­elled by road from Namibia to Victoria Falls to show com­mit­ment to the Kaza tour ini­tia­tive.

Speak­ing dur­ing the tour, Am­bas­sador Chikava said the ini­tia­tive started three years ago and only came to fruition now.

“We have been hear­ing about Kaza but we are not see­ing any ac­tion tak­ing place. We felt that as am­bas­sadors from South­ern Africa we should take the ini­tia­tive to mar­ket the re­gion. We have seen many tourists com­ing to the re­gion and the idea is to see how the five coun­tries that make up Kaza can ben­e­fit,” she said.

The Kaza area is a river basin on the Zam­bezi and Oka­vango rivers where five coun­tries An­gola, Botswana, Namibia, Zam­bia and Zimbabwe con­verge. It cov­ers 36 na­tional parks, games re­serves and com­mu­nity con­ser­van­cies in­clud­ing the Zam­bezi Re­gion, Chobe, Oka­vango Delta and Victoria Falls her­itage hence it’s the rich­est tourist des­ti­na­tion in the world.

Amb Chikava said the Namib­ian gov­ern­ment helped mo­bilise the am­bas­sadors on a joint ini­tia­tive sup­ported by the UN.

“This is the first such con­cept in the re­gion meant to har­ness gains in the tourism sec­tor. As you can see, the UN is here and all the am­bas­sadors have promised to come back to visit,” said Amba Chikava.

She said af­ter the tour they will prepare a re­port with rec­om­men­da­tions and start sell­ing the Kaza des­ti­na­tion.

“We came by road so that we take stock of ac­tiv­i­ties on the way in­clud­ing the ca­pac­ity of our borders,” she added.

Tourism, Hos­pi­tal­ity In­dus­try and En­vi­ron­ment Min­is­ter Edgar Mb­wem­bwe praised the am­bas­sadors say­ing their ini­tia­tive dove­tails with gov­ern­ment’s ini­tia­tive to build the Zimbabwe brand. He said Zimbabwe had been suf­fer­ing neg­a­tive pub­lic­ity hence the need for image build­ing.

“I am greatly hon­oured to wel­come you on be­half of the Gov­ern­ment of Zimbabwe and we are happy that you have come from dif­fer­ent cor­ners of the world to ap­pre­ci­ate what we are try­ing to do as Kaza to mar­ket our des­ti­na­tions col­lec­tively.

“Pub­lic­ity has been neg­a­tive and we are happy that you are leav­ing with first hand in­for­ma­tion as our am­bas­sadors and your ini­tia­tive is go­ing to help mar­ket Zimbabwe and Kaza as a safe des­ti­na­tion,” he said.

Al­ge­rian am­bas­sador to Namibia Sid Ali Ab­del­bari con­curred say­ing a multi-sec­toral mar­ket­ing ap­proach was key in mak­ing the re­gion known to the world.

In a state­ment, the UN of­fice in Namibia said the tour res­onates with the Sus­tain­able De­vel­op­ment Goals on is­sues of poverty erad­i­ca­tion, en­vi­ron­men­tal sus­tain­abil­ity and em­ploy­ment cre­ation.

Namibia Wildlife Re­sorts, Zimbabwe Tourism Au­thor­ity, Zimbabwe Na­tional Parks and Wildlife Man­age­ment Au­thor­ity were part of the tour. — @ncubeleon

Am­bas­sadors pose for a photo at David Liv­ing­stone’s statue in Victoria Falls

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