Zimbabwe and Malawi yesterday concluded the Third Joint Tourism Technical Committee (JTTC) meeting meant to assess progress on the areas of cooperation agreed to by the two governments.
The meeting was held in Lilongwe, Malawi from Wednesday and ended yesterday.
It was co-chaired by the permanent secretary for Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry Ambassador Raphael Faranisi and Mr Chauncy Simwaka, the Secretary for Tourism, Culture and Wildlife in Malawi.
The objective of the meeting was to review progress on the implementation of the agreed areas of cooperation from the second JTTC meeting held in Zimbabwe in 2019.
The areas of cooperation are derived from the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Cooperation in the Field of Tourism, which was signed by the two governments in April 2015.
The JTTC is a platform to facilitate the exchange of experiences, expertise and ideas to support and deepen tourism cooperation between the two countries. In his remarks, Ambassador Faranisi said the implementation of the National Tourism Recovery and Growth Strategy launched by
President Mnangagwa, sets the pace for sustainable tourism growth and resilience building for the sector.
The tourism strategy also outlines strategies meant to cushion the tourism players against the impact of the devastating Covid-19 pandemic.
Positive developments have been noted since the gradual reopening of international borders and territories as evidenced by an increase in tourist arrivals in Zimbabwe in the second half of this year.
The United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) has designated the World Tourism Day 2022 theme as, “Rethinking Tourism”.
As such, the JTTC meeting provided a platform for both countries to join hands in rebuilding their tourism industries post-Covid-19.
The JTTC explored a number of agreed tourism cooperation areas including joint marketing and promotion programmes, promotion of culture heritage sites and sustainable handicraft production, classification and standardisation of tourism products and facilities, product development, exchange of information, sustainable tourism development, tourism investment and collaboration in training of tourism personnel and capacity building programmes for the countries’ tourism sectors.
The two secretaries underscored the need for both countries to work together to revive the tourism sectors and make up for opportunities and revenue lost on account of Covid-19.
With the deepening of tourism cooperation through the JTTC platform, relations between the two countries are poised for growth and the co-chairs committed to leave a positive tourism legacy for future generations.
Ambassador Faranisi and Mr Simwaka reiterated the need for the technical officials from both countries to immediately start implementing all the agreed areas of cooperation in earnest and in accordance with identified timeframes, and report progress made in the fourth JTTC meeting to be hosted by Zimbabwe next year.
The Zimbabwe delegation was led by Ambassador Faranisi and comprised of Government officials, parastatals and relevant stakeholders.