by Wallace Mawire

Former Miss Tourism Zimbabwe, Rumbidzai Mudzengerere has been elected President of the Africa Travel Association (ATA) Young Professionals Program Global.

According to Sugar Changonda Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) Head Corporate Affairs, the announcement was made recently by the ATA in New York. The election comes weeks after the ATA Young Professionals Africa Round Table that was held in New York, where the former beauty Queen was also a panelist.

Commenting on this development, the elated Mudzengerere who is a Marketing Executive with the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) said she feels honoured and excited to take up the new role which is more international in scope

“I feel greatly honored. I know it demands a lot of hard work because the focus now is on young people across the continent of Africa and helping them to grow tourism in their countries. This also entails advancing tourism promotion at such grand levels. I am excited to be given the opportunity to work with other Young Professionals from Africa and from USA, and I promise that during my tenure we will bridge the gap between Africa and the USA by creating platforms to promote travel to Africa. This is beyond personal achievement but it’s a feat for the country,” she said.

She said,”l  feel proud to be Zimbabwean and to hold this office, as John F. Kennedy rightly put it, ‘Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country, ” said Mudzengerere.

In his congratulatory message to Mudzengere, the Chief Executive of the ZTA, Mr. Karikoga kaseke said he never doubted the potentials of the Zimbabwean girl child saying there is now need to tap into the talents and skills of the youths for the benefit of the country.

“Rumbidzai as a representative of the Zimbabwean girl child has exhibited untapped talent in leadership in youth entrepreneurship programmes, innovation and the will power to contribute to global development. Her achievements to date speak volumes of her potentials and we are ready to work with her from a tourism perspective so that she can fully realize her dreams which I am convinced are also good for the country,” said Mr. Kaseke.

The ATA’s Young Professionals Program (YPP) aims to engage tourism and hospitality students and young industry professionals in Africa’s tourism industry and to cultivate future ATA membership.

To achieve this mission, YPP offers two programs that serve young people at different points in their education and professional development that is ATA Student Union and ATA Young Professionals Network.

Through these two programs, YPP aims to help future industry leaders gain access to tourism professionals focusing on Africa in order to help them build the relationships and networks.

By encouraging the exchange of knowledge, ideas and interests and by providing opportunities for training and travel to Destination Africa, YPP also connects a new generation to ATA and its members who are accomplished tourism professionals.

The term of office for the newly appointed ATA Young Professionals board members is 2 years. Zimbabwe has 3 representatives in the executive board.

Ms Mudzengerere will be deputized by another Zimbabwean, Rejoice Chisamba as the Vice President and the Treasurer is Mr. Stewart Mtizwa a fellow country man.

Other Executive board members are Assan Njie from the Gambia  who will be the Secretary, and Eyong Ayuk from Cameroon  who is the 2nd Vice President. The board will also consist of non executive board members who are, Kim Marie Clair Umutesi from Rwanda, Damas Mutogoma from Rwanda, Ibrahim Mbacke from Senegal, Dominic Tolbert from USA, Roni Weiss from USA and Carmen Fells from USA.

Through the successful Hosting of the ATA General Assembly in Victoria Falls in May 2012 by the ZTA, Ms Rumbidzai Mudzengerere became part of the ATA Young Professionals Program and moderated the YPP session hosted in Vic Falls on 19 May 2012. From then, she has been a facilitator on various programmes with the Zimbabwean Chapter.

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