UNITED Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) secretary-general Taleb Rifai yesterday said infrastructure challenges were the biggest obstacle that many developing countries encountered in realising maximum benefits from tourism.
He said the UNWTO general assembly underway in Victoria Falls and Livingstone, Zambia should come up with ways to improve major infrastructure vital for the sector.
Addressing a media briefing, Rifai said the Victoria Falls and Livingstone assembly was the best attended in the history of UNWTO.
“One of the major obstacles is infrastructural development in terms of roads,” he said.
“There is also an issue of hospitality infrastructure, which should be addressed.
“Finance is another obstacle, which should be addressed in Africa. Connectivity is another one.
“African destinations are challenging and difficult to arrive at. The other one is promotion and marketing.
“We need technological advances. information communication technologies and promotions go hand in hand that they should be utilised in Africa.”
Rifai urged developing countries to work on improving hostile perceptions attached to them by developed countries, who contribute much to the global tourism revenue.
While acknowledging that there were logistical challenges, he said he was impressed with the conference so far and that both Zimbabwe and Zambia should seize the opportunity to market their countries. Rifai said the conference would leave an indelible mark on the people of Victoria Falls and Livingstone.
The assembly kicked off on Saturday and was officially opened on Sunday by President Robert Mugabe and Michael Sata of Zambia amid pomp and fanfare.
The two leaders expressed hope that the tourism sector would contribute meaningfully to the gross domestic products of their respective countries.
Yesterday, visiting ministers held a ministerial roundtable where they were set to discuss, among other issues, ways of improving travel in the region.