Mugabe Was Not Given Any Tourism Title: UN Agency

PUBLISHED: Wed, 30 May 2012 14:20:41 GMT

A United Nations agency said Wednesday that it has not appointed Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe as an official representative for tourism, refuting several newspaper reports that sparked outrage in the United Kingdom.

Sandra Carvão, communications coordinator for the UN World TourismAgency, told CNBC that Mugabe has not received a title from the UN, even pointing out that there is no official UN travel ambassador program.

Mugabe and his ally, Zambian president Michael Sata, were present at Victoria Falls on Tuesday in a ceremony led by the UN World Trade Organization Head Taleb Rifai. They received an Open Letter on Travel and Tourism, but the UN agency said the letter was sent “to all heads of state.”

Victoria Falls, on the Zimbabwe-Zambia border, was named the official destination for the 20th UNWTO holiday conference.

“The receiving of the UNWTO/WTTC Open Letter implies no legal commitment or title attribution to the country or the head of state or government in question,” Carvão said.

Several UK newspapers carried stories variously claiming that Mugabe had been named a UN “ambassador,” “envoy” or “leader,” and quoting sources who complained that the African strongman was made a “ambassador” for tourism.

Sign Up for Our Newsletter Daily Update
Get the best of CNBC Africa sent straight to your inbox with breaking business news, insights and updates from experts across the continent.
Get this delivered to your inbox, and more info about about our products and services. By signing up for newsletters, you are agreeing to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.