- The governments of Angola and Zimbabwe have signed an accord relating to cooperation within the tourism sector. Both Southern African countries agree to promote cultural tourism and establish joint programmes to promote handicraft production.
According to information released by official sources in Luanda, the cooperation protocol in the tourism sector was signed last week in Victoria Falls - Zimbabwe's main tourist attraction - between representatives of the two governments, gathered at a regional tourism congress.
The bilateral agreement establishes the general bases for the joint promotion and increased cooperation between the tourism sectors of Angola and Zimbabwe. According to the new agreement, the two countries should intensify the development and conservation of those sites declared cultural heritage, promote cultural tourism and establish joint programmes to develop the handicraft sector.
Another important clause in the agreement treats the intention of developing campaign of "joint marketing" for the tourist destinations Zimbabwe and Angola. The two governments foresee joint promotion at exhibitions, trade fares and other events aimed at the tourism sector.
Finally, the protocol foresees the establishment of joint training programmes in the sectors of tourism and lodging, pinpointing the need for joint courses by teachers from the two countries at specialised training centres and schools.
As a first step, government agencies, associations and organisations within the Angolan and Zimbabwean tourism sectors are to establish contacts and define the ways of cooperation, Angolan government sources announced.
Angola and Zimbabwe at this stage have agreed on a first step tourism cooperation for the next five year, but the protocol is to be renewed automatically after that if not cancelled by one of the parties.
Before the current economic and political crisis in Zimbabwe, the country was one of Southern Africa's major tourist destinations. While neighbouring countries had focused on safari and natural sites tourism, Zimbabwe always has promoted itself as a destination of cultural tourism.
The Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) therefore is known to host much competence on developing and promoting cultural tourism, although this currently is of little use as foreign tourists shy away from the country. Angola, on the other hand, is only now starting to receive its first tourists after years of civil war. Angolan authorities thus have sent strong signals about a need for assistance in developing their tourism strategy and agency.
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