African couple eating street food, skews

UN Tourism to Host First African Gastronomy Forum in Zimbabwe

UN Tourism is set to host its first Regional Forum on Gastronomy Tourism for Africa, aiming to make gastronomy tourism a key pillar for sustainable and inclusive growth across the continent. The event will be held in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, from July 26-28, 2024.

The forum, under the patronage of Her Excellency Dr. Auxillia C. Mnangagwa, the First Lady of Zimbabwe, and co-organized with the Basque Culinary Center, will focus on harnessing the transformative power of gastronomy tourism for the benefit of local communities and regions.

One of the primary goals of the forum is to develop a strategy for African gastronomy. With gastronomy tourism as a central component of the UN Tourism Agenda for Africa – Tourism for Inclusive Growth, the event will work towards creating a roadmap for a common agenda for African gastronomy tourism. Discussions will involve African Tourism Ministers and the FAO Representative in Zimbabwe, focusing on strategies to elevate African gastronomy on the global stage, build supportive policies, and enhance gastronomy tourism as a driver of development. The event will also include technical visits to various regional locations.

Innovation will be highlighted through a pitch challenge where entrepreneurs will present scalable solutions to regional challenges in the gastronomy and tourism value chains. Keynotes and panel discussions will emphasize sustainable practices in gastronomy tourism, covering topics such as local sourcing and minimizing food waste.

Supporting rural development and enhancing skills and education will also be key themes. 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 showcase their initiatives and discuss their impact on local communities.

Additionally, the UN Tourism Youth Photo Contest titled “A Journey through Zimbabwe’s Gastronomy” will run from June 10 to July 1, offering Zimbabwean communities a chance to highlight their gastronomic heritage.

Zimbabwe has demonstrated a strong commitment to positioning gastronomy as a crucial element for sustainable tourism development in Africa. Initiatives such as the annual Regional Traditional Gastronomy Festival, launched in 2019 and endorsed by Zimbabwe’s First Lady as the National Tourism Patron, underline this commitment. Zimbabwe has also actively participated in previous editions of the World Forum on Gastronomy Tourism.

The upcoming forum represents a significant step towards integrating gastronomy into the broader tourism strategy for Africa, aiming to foster sustainable growth and development across the continent.

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