More can­di­dates emerge for world’s big­gest tourism job

The Herald (Zimbabwe) - - Business News -

THE count­down to the elec­tion for the top tourism job in the world — that of the United Na­tions World Tourism Or­gan­i­sa­tion Sec­re­tary Gen­eral — slated for May has started in earnest, more can­di­dates have emerged.

Zim­babwe’s Tourism and Hos­pi­tal­ity In­dus­try Min­is­ter Dr Wal­ter Mzembi, will fight it out with Mr Zurab Polo­likashvili of Ge­or­gia, Már­cio Fav­illa Lucca de Paula of Brazil, Mrs Glo­ria Gue­vara of Mex­ico, Mr Alain St Ange of Sey­chelles and Mr Lah­cen Had­dad of Morocco.

Dr Mzembi launched his cam­paign last year with em­phatic en­dorse­ments from Sadc and the African Union and has been a lone fig­ure in the race while run­ning the cam­paign of a global pedestal but with the count­down start­ing, Dr Mzembi faces the big­gest chal­lenge from Zurab Már­cio Fav­illa Lucca de Paula, the cur­rent UNWTO ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor for op­er­a­tional pro­grammes and in­sti­tu­tional re­la­tions and sec­ond-in-charge of UNWTO.

Mar­cio rep­re­sents in­sti­tu­tional knowl­edge which he can ma­nip­u­late in his favour and has been run­ning the or­gan­i­sa­tion for more than half a year af­ter out­go­ing Sec­re­tary Gen­eral Dr Talib Ri­fai in­ex­pli­ca­bly stood down for him about a year be­fore the elec­tion.

An­a­lysts say Dr Ri­fai, an ac­com­plished Diplo­mat and for­mer Min­is­ter of Fi­nance of Jor­dan, stood down to give, his deputy, Mar­cio a head start­ing ad­van­tage.

Dr Mzembi is how­ever, not a novice to have been in the UNWTO ex­ec­u­tive coun­cil since 2010 and be­ing the chair of the UNWTO African Com­mis­sion for two terms.

The other can­di­dates are Ge­or­gian Am­bas­sador to Madrid, Mr Polo­likashvili, Mrs Glo­ria Gue­vara a tourism guru from Mex­ico who is vice pres­i­dent for cus­tomer so­lu­tions and ven­dor man­age­ment in the In­for­ma­tion Of­fice in the Sabre head­quar­ter in South­lake Texas.

Then there is Alain St. Ange of Sey­chelles, who re­signed his job as Min­is­ter of Tourism in the small Is­land on De­cem­ber 28 last year to con­cen­trate on the UNWTO cam­paign.

Morocco’s Min­is­ter of Tourism Mr Lah­cen Had­dad, has also thrown in his name in the hat.

There is go­ing to be ex­cite­ment in Madrid, Spain on Jan­uary 19 when Dr Mzembi and Macio Paula hold cam­paign din­ners run­ning con­cur­rently at 7 pm to at­tract au­di­ences at Fi­tur, the Span­ish in­ter­na­tional tourism ex­trav­a­ganza.

This is an ap­par­ent show of power and it will be in­ter­est­ing to note, which dig­ni­taries will at­tend which func­tion. It is go­ing to be more in­ter­est­ing which func­tion out­go­ing UNWTO Sec­re­tary Gen­eral Dr Talib Ri­fai will at­tend, given that two days ago he at­tended the Mex­i­can can­di­date’s cam­paign din­ner.

Dr Mzembi will be at the pres­ti­gious Torre de Cristal, in the Four Tow­ers cen­tral busi­ness district of down­town Madrid.

For Dr Mzembi, the dy­nam­ics of the elec­tion for the tourism top job have changed with Sey­chelles and Morocco turn­ing up to be his spoil­ers as he has been run­ning as the sole African can­di­date af­ter he was en­dorsed by the African Union Heads of State and Govern­ment as Africa’s can­di­date for the job.

Sey­chelles is in breach of AU statutes for rea­sons known to it­self while Morocco can be for­given since it is not a mem­ber of the African Union, al­though of late it has been mak­ing ma­noeu­vres to join the African fam­ily.

There is, how­ever, a wide be­lief that it is now time for Africa as no African has held the UNWTO sec­re­tary gen­eral’s post since the in­cep­tion of the or­gan­i­sa­tion in 1975. Below are the peo­ple who have held the post. — Robert Lonati 1975–1985 — Wil­libald Pahr 1986–1989 — An­to­nio En­riquez Sav­i­gnac 1990–1996 — Francesco Fran­gialli 1997–

France Austria Mex­ico

France

2009

Jor­dan

— Taleb Ri­fai 2010–present As the cam­paign reaches fever pitch for the May 11 and 12, 2017 UNWTO SG poll, there is no doubt some will fall by the way­side and that only one win­ner will emerge.

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