Zimbabwe to set up tourism office in Iran

16:29, June 20, 2010      

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Zimbabwe is set to strengthen its ties with Iran by setting up a tourism office in the Islamic republic, The Sunday Mail reported.

This follows a meeting between the Minister of Tourism and Hospitality Industry Walter Mzembi and the Iranian Vice President Hamid Baghaee, who is also the head of the Cultural Heritage Organization.

The meeting was held on the sidelines of the 88th Session of the recent United Nations World Tourism Organization Executive Council in Argentina.

Mzembi quoted by the weekly newspaper said after the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding between Zimbabwe and Iran during the visit by President Mahmoud Amadinejad in April, the two countries were exploring ways of putting the MoU into effect.

"We agreed that we should put in place a program of exchange visits to gain deeper understanding of each other's market. We also agreed that my delegation will visit Iran first then Vice President Baghaee will reciprocate the visit," he said.

"We are hoping to embark on this trip at the end of July this year. Already the Iranian Embassy in Harare has been in touch to work on the modalities of the visit," said Mzembi.

He said he was aiming at visiting Iran with a technical team, as was agreed under the MoU that will meet with its counterparts from the Islamic nation.

"We are seeking to establish an office in Iran that will be manned by an Iranian agent for the first two years due to the language barrier. The agent will work with a Zimbabwean understudy who will take over after two years," he said.

The minister said under the program they would also seek assistance from Iran in the construction of shrines in all the places that played a significant part during the liberation struggle.

"You see, our current tourism product was defined through colonial eyes and we want to create a tourism product that also reflects our history dating back to as far as we can remember. We want to show the world that tourism in the country is much broader than the Victoria Falls. We want to ride on Iran's rich enshrinement history," said Minister Mzembi, adding that consultations with the relevant authorities had already begun.

He said Zimbabwe was supporting Iran's bid to host the 89th Session of the UNWTO and Kenya's bid to host the 90th Session.

Mzembi said many countries in the region supported Zimbabwe's bid to host the 20th United Nations World Tourism Organisation's general assembly in 2013. The assembly brings together about 185 countries and if Zimbabwe wins the bid, this will be the first time for the event to be held in Africa.

Source: Xinhua

(Editor:叶欣)

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