The Honorable Dr. Eng. Walter Mzembi is a happy man tonight. Today the African Union Executive Council sealed a United African endorsement for his candidacy to become the next Secretary General of the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).
At the ongoing 27th Summit of the African Union in Kigali, Rwanda, the Executive Council brought Africa together. Africa now is behind and united in endorsing Mr. Mzembi. The UNWTO election process will start in October 2016.
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Dr. Eng. Walter Mzembi is the current Minister of Tourism and Hospitality Industry for the Republic of Zimbabwe.
The Executive Council consists of mostly Foreign Ministers from African countries except Morocco. Morocco re-applied for membership.
This is a major endorsement for Mr. Mzembi. He had been jet-setting around the planet for some time, lobbying to get endorsement after endorsement from world leaders, global tourism organizations, and now from the African Union to lead world tourism in the United Nations system.
World Tourism is the largest job producer in the world. Ten percent or more of the world work force is employed directly or indirectly in the travel and tourism industry.
Tourists consist of more than 1 billion travelers and growing.
The Hon. Dr. Walter Mzembi, Ph.D., has been the current Minister of Tourism and Hospitality Industry for the Republic of Zimbabwe since 2009. He has also been a member of Parliament for the Masvingo South Constituency since 2004 and the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Regional Commission for Africa Chairperson from 2013 to date.
This industry, however, is facing enormous challenges in regards to global security. It will take a special type of leader for this post.
Mzembi is known to bring fresh and sometimes out-of-the-box ideas to the table and may just be the man for this job. Some had told him that he is fit for the job, but may be the minister representing the wrong country.
The world platform is changing fast, and after all, this may very well play to his strategic advantage over time. Africa is now being taken seriously in the world, and the minister’s approval is an endorsement not only for him but for an Africa that has learned and now knows how to speak with one powerful voice.
Mzembi’s experience in the world of tourism includes such international positions as Chairman of the Southern Africa Development Community Committee of Tourism Ministers in 2015, UNWTO Executive Council Member from 2009 to 2013, UNWTO Co-President in Session 20 of the General Assembly from 2013-2015, as well as President of the Africa Travel Association (New York-based) 3 times.
Just last week, he was recognized as a Tourism Leader by the International Coalition of Tourism Partners (ICTP).
Mr. Mzembi received many global honors:
– African Tourism Minister of the Year (2011): African Investor Tourism Investment
– Africa Leadership Awards (2012), Mauritius
– Brand Leadership Award (2012)
– Mark of Excellence Award (2012)
– Africa Leadership and Inspiration Award (2012)
– TouchRoad Sino – Africa Investment Excellence Awards (2011), Shanghai, China
– Africa Travel Association-Outstanding Service to the Association (2012), USA
– Special Recognition for Excellence Award: African Achievers Awards (2012), Nairobi, Kenya
– Africa Travel Association Presidency Appreciation Award (2012-2014), USA
Additionally, he has received recognition in the domestic arena as well:
– Public Service Manager of the Year (2011), Zimbabwe Institute of Management
– Tourism Personality of the Year (2011), Hospitality Association of Zimbabwe
– Tourism Personality of the Year (2012), Zimbabwe Council for Tourism
– Outstanding Contribution to Agriculture in Zimbabwe (2012), Zimbabwe Farmers Union
– Most Consumer Focused Executive-Service Excellence Awards (2014), Customer Contact Centre
– Tourism Image Builder of the Year (2014), Megafest Tourism Awards
– Exceptional Contribution to Marketing (2015), Marketers Association of Zimbabwe
– Customer Service Executive of the Year-Service Excellence in the Public Sector (2015), Marketers Association of Zimbabwe
-Registered Professional Engineer with the Zimbabwe Engineering Council
-Member of both the Zimbabwe and Zambia Institute of Engineers
-Fellow of the Zimbabwe Institution of Engineers
Ronald S. Mracky, Managing Director at Africa Consult Group in the United States, was one of the first international experts to congratulate Mzembi. He wrote:
“Personal good wishes and congratulations from Sylvia and me on your AU achievement of becoming Africa’s unchallenged choice for the UNWTO Secretary General.
“In our private and professional positions, we endorse the AU decision and be assured of our support in obtaining the needed world support for you and Africa within the worldwide tourism community.
“You have the qualifications to lead UNWTO and assist today’s world in utilizing tourism as a force for peace, good, and economic progress.
“Please accept our sincere congratulations.”
Mracky was asenior member of the Africa Travel Association (ATA), Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA), International Air Transport Association (IATA), associate member of American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA), and other professional and academic groups.