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UNWTO awards Zim 100 tourism scholarships, hails First Lady’s commitment

Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister Barbra Rwodzi shows UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili wines made from Zimbabwean indigenous fruits like mapfura among others during his visit to the Zimbabwean stand at the 8th UNWTO World Forum on Gastronomy Tourism in Donostia San Sebastian, Spain yesterday.

Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister Barbra Rwodzi shows UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili wines made from Zimbabwean indigenous fruits like mapfura among others during his visit to the Zimbabwean stand at the 8th UNWTO World Forum on Gastronomy Tourism in Donostia San Sebastian, Spain yesterday.

Tendai Rupapa in SAN SEBASTIAN, Spain

THE United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNTWO) has granted Zimbabwe 100 scholarships from IE University through First Lady Dr Auxillia Mnangagwa in recognition of her commitment to strengthening high quality education in tourism.

IE University is one of the world’s leading institutions of higher education which shapes people with a global vision, humanistic approach, and entrepreneurial spirit.

The awarding of the online academy open certificate scholarships by the global tourism promotion body, shows how the First Lady’s efforts to promote gastronomy tourism are not going unnoticed.

In awarding the scholarships at the Zimbabwe stand on the sidelines of the 8th UNWTO World Forum on Gastronomy Tourism, UNWTO secretary-general Mr Zurab Pololikashvili and his team showed appreciation of Zimbabwean food, traditional utensils and instruments which were being showcased at the stand.

UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili takes a screenshot of a video of the SADC Regional traditional cooking competition which was organised by Tourism and Hospitality patron First Lady Dr Auxillia Mnangagwa on Africa Day in Masvingo this year. Mr Pololikashvili was visiting the Zimbabwean stand at the 8th UNWTO World Forum on Gastronomy Tourism in Donostia San Sebastian, Spain yesterday.

He said they initially intended to award the country 50 scholarships, but had increased these to 100 in appreciation of the First Lady’s ingenuity, dedication and hard work.

“We were happy to welcome the First Lady in San Sebastian following an invitation we extended to her. This is happening here in San Sebastian where an African country is showing culinary opportunities, culinary promotion and gastronomy promotion. 

“It has never happened before in more than 10 years I have attended this event and it’s a big step to promote African culture, African gastronomy outside of the region and San Sebastian. 

“It is a very ambitious step that the First Lady and her wonderful team made here. And I really would love to and would do all my best to organise a big African gastronomy fair in our next editions and this is an example we would have to repeat.

“I also learnt that in Zimbabwe, the First Lady organised an interesting event that is the regional traditional cookout competitions regarding African culture and gastronomy. We want to support Zimbabwe entrepreneurs and the young generation with training programmes,” he said.

The UNWTO Secretary-General spoke on the value of education to achieve success.

UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili hands over 100 tourism scholarships to Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister Barbra Rwodzi and University of Zimbabwe Vice Chancellor Professor Paul Mapfumo during the 8th UNWTO World Forum on Gastronomy Tourism in Donostia San Sebastian, Spain yesterday. – Pictures: John Manzongo.

“Now education is a very important part of our life and our industry. We decided to give 100 scholarships to the First Lady instead of 50 because we saw the passion, we saw her motivation over tourism and how she is promoting African tourism, because Africa is not well represented around the world and we are always using the good sense of her visit like a first historical step that such an important person and high-level representative is promoting her culture. 

“You need more and we are committed to promote African culture and gastronomy in Europe, in Asia, in all different regions of the world,” he said.

Mr Pololikashvili said he was keen to work with newly-appointed Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister Barbara Rwodzi to whom he extended a warm welcome.

“I want to welcome the new Minister of Tourism and Hospitality Barbara Rwodzi. I wish her success, all the best. Zimbabwe should count on our full support and we were talking with her Excellency the First Lady the steps and the agenda for Zimbabwe and for Africa,” he said.

Minister Rwodzi paid glowing tribute to the work being done by the First Lady to boost tourism.

“We are here in San Sebastian in Spain where we came through the wonderful works of the First Lady that she started in our country for which no one knew where we would end that in this day we get recognition from the United Nations Word Tourism Organisation which is a big body which superintends over tourism across the globe. 

“They invited the First Lady and honoured her for the work that she started in Zimbabwe. Look where this has taken us, the First Lady was invited here and today as a nation we were given these scholarships. These are scholarships for 100 children to attend IE university which is among the top 10 business schools in Europe so that they learn tourism. 

Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister Barbra Rwodzi hands over the Zimbabwean national fabric, a brainchild of First Lady Dr Auxillia Mnangagwa to UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili while University of Zimbabwe Vice Chancellor Professor Paul Mapfumo looks on during the 8th UNWTO World Forum on Gastronomy Tourism in Spain yesterday.

“This is a wonderful thing for us that has been accomplished by the First Lady which is good for the whole country and the whole continent of Africa. This has come from the ingenuity of our First Lady Dr Auxillia Mnangagwa.” 

“We are thankful as a ministry and we are so pleased. See how we are scoring big through our patron in the tourism ministry. We want to continue working hard and running with the speed that our mother uses so that we take these gastronomy lessons forward and our country will be known through the consumption of our own traditional dishes,” she said.

Also charmed by the scholarships was University of Zimbabwe Vice Chancellor Professor Paul Mapfumo, who sang praises for the First Lady.

“First of all I want to say the scholarships that we have been awarded today on tourism and gastronomy signify two main things. 

“It’s the leadership of the First Lady who has opened doors and opportunities through her invitation by the UNWTO and that opening of opportunities has brought the future forward and our future is our youth. 

“Giving scholarships to the youth means sustainability of the gastronomy tourism discipline and food brings people together. This also signifies the second point, the thrust in innovation and research that we are seized with as the higher education sector. 

“As a vice chancellor in a university representing all other universities in this case, I want to thank the First Lady, Dr Auxillia Mnangagwa and the UNWTO as the agency of the United Nations. Both of them have thrown in a lifeline on our students who would want to do work that’s on the nexus of climate change, food systems in agriculture and natural resources because these are the areas that will give us a future as Zimbabwe for our heritage based education 5.0,” he said.

Herald

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