Published March 31, 2017
President Jacob Zuma of South Africa’s replacement of Derek Hanekom with Tokozile Xasa as Tourism Minister on March 31, 2017 is likely to affect the outcome of the new secretary-general of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), South Africa being a key member of the UNWTO Executive Council and an influencer on the African continent. This very much also counts for the travel, tourism, hospitality, and the aviation industry.
The UNWTO Secretary-General election is decided by the members of the UNWTO Executive Council. From Africa, members of the UNWTO Executive Council are the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Mozambique, Seychelles, South Africa, Tunisia, and Zambia.
There are currently two very capable and widely-liked candidates from Africa competing for the highest post in the United Nations World Tourism Organization. One is Alain St.Ange, the former Minister of Tourism from the Seychelles, and two is Walter Mzembi, the current Minister of Tourism and Hospitality from Zimbabwe.
One is from a country (Seychelles) with a message to the world: “We are friends of all, enemies of none,” The other candidate (Mzembi) has a global mindset and is well liked. He has a youthful and out of the box approach and established an excellent reputation also with many countries and leaders critical of Zimbabwe. His home country (Zimbabwe) has big current challenges, but the potential of great opportunities tomorrow.
St.Ange shows the importance of personal friendship in collecting endorsements for his candidacy from private industry, from journalists and former government officials.
Mzembi had been traveling the world for months successfully drumming up support behind the scene.
He was endorsed by the African Union as Africa’s choice for UNWTO before Alain St.Ange entered the race.
Former South African Minister of Tourism Derek Hanekom, a white South African, wasa supporter of UNWTO candidate Alain St.Ange, a white African from the Indian Ocean island nation, the Republic of the Seychelles.
Today, in a South African cabinet shuffle, Tourism Minister Hanekom replacement by Tokzile Xasa, a black South African may also adjust sympathies. According to eTN sources, Mrs. Xasa is very much respected in Zimbabwe, and she is known to have a good understanding and friendship with UNWTO candidate Walter Mzembi from Zimbabwe.
The shift created by this South African cabinet posts may very well have an influence on the upcoming election to the UNWTO Secretary General. It could have an impact on voting members of the Executive committee in Africa and possibly beyond.