Zimbabwe to hosts First UN Tourism Regional Forum on Gastronomy for Africa

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UN Tourism is to host its first Regional Forum on Gastronomy Tourism for Africa, advancing its work to make gastronomy tourism a pillar for sustainable and inclusive growth across the region.

The Forum will be held in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, on 26-28 July 2024. Hosted under the patronage of the First Lady of the Republic of Zimbabwe, Her Excellency Dr. Auxillia C. Mnangagwa, and co-organized with Basque Culinary Center, it aims to harness the transformative power of gastronomy tourism for the benefit of local communities and territories in the African continent.

Developing a strategy for African Gastronomy

With gastronomy tourism as one of the pillars of the UN Tourism Agenda for Africa – Tourism for Inclusive Growth, the Forum aims to build towards a roadmap for a common agenda for African Gastronomy Tourism. African Tourism Ministers and the FAO Representative in Zimbabwe will take part in discussions on developing a strategy to propel African gastronomy onto the global stage, how to build adequate polices to enhance gastronomy tourism and enhance its role as a driver of development. In addition to forum discussions, the event will include organized technical visits to various locations throughout the region.

Highlighting the importance of innovation, the Forum will include a pitch challenge where entrepreneurs will present scalable solutions to address regional challenges in the gastronomy and tourism value chains. Additionally, keynotes and panel discussions will emphasize sustainable practices in gastronomy tourism, exploring topics such as local sourcing and minimizing food waste.

Supporting rural development and progressing skills and education

At the Forum, Experts and chefs, including Chef Fatmata Binta, UN Tourism Ambassador for Responsible Tourism, representatives from the Ghana Food Movement, Chef Adenike Adefila from Nigeria, Chefs in Africa (Rwanda), and Chef Mounir El Arem from Tunisia, will present their initiatives and discuss their impact on local communities, emphasizing their role in fostering positive change and progressing education and skills.

On the sidelines of the Forum, the UN Tourism Youth Photo Contest titled “A Journey through Zimbabwe´s Gastronomy” will offer Zimbabwean communities a unique opportunity to express their perspective and capture the essence of Zimbabwe’s gastronomic heritage. The call for participation will open from 10 June to 1 July.

Highest level support for tourism in Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe’s engagement towards positioning gastronomy as a key pillar for the sustainable development of tourism in Africa has been showcased through the launch of several initiatives endorsed by Zimbabwe’s First Lady as the National Tourism Patron, such as the Regional Traditional Gastronomy Festival taking place every year since 2019. Zimbabwe has also been an active participant in previous editions of the World Forum on Gastronomy Tourism.

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