By Henry D Gombya in Madrid
Zimbabwe’s youthful Tourism Minister has revealed a plan that could provide Europe with tourists from Africa instead of migrants. Addressing a selected number of guests from around the world in the Spanish capital Madrid Thursday during the launch for his bid to become Africa’s first United Nations World Tourism Organisation’s Secretary General, Dr Walter Mzembi noted that while terrorism and insecurity remain the major challenges facing the tourism industry, he could use his experience in the industry to stop Africans migrating to Europe for jobs and instead use the tourism industry to provide them with similar jobs they get in Europe that would turn them into tourists instead of migrants.
A Tourism Minister since 2009, Dr Mzembi, 52, a Member of Parliament for Masvingo South for the ruling Zanu-PF party, called for a ‘Marshall Plan’ to stem the flow of African migrants to the Mediterranean where hundreds of thousands have perished while trying to cross the seas to Europe. He said he would use the industry as a vehicle for peace, tolerance and cultural understanding as well as a poverty-ending tool. Tourism is a poverty-ending tool, a low hanging fruit and one that answers job creation,” he said.
Noting that the contemporary challenges facing the tourism industry were terrorism and insecurity, natural disasters, climate change and biodiversity terrorism (wildlife poaching), Dr Mzembi said if he won his bid for UNWTO Secretary General, he would use the leverage of the post to mobilise governments around the world to protect the industry against the scourge of terrorism.