Zimbabwe's Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister, Walter Mzembi, has secured the backing of Egypt in his race to become the next Secretary-General of the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) in elections set for mid-2017.

Mzembi's candidature was approved by the African Union in July and he is currently on a mission to meet with particular countries which are on the 32-member UNWTO Executive Council which will be responsible for the election of the new leader for the organization.

DrTalebRifai, a Jordanian national, is the current UNWTO Secretary-General and is due to step down next year when his term expires. Mzembi's bid to win election to the post will be known when the nomination court sits at the end of October.

Mzembi separately met with Egypt's Foreign Affairs, Minister SamehShoukry, and his Egyptian counterpart, Mohamed YehiaRahed, in Cairo to get their support.

"Egypt is committed and bound by the AU resolutions particularly on the candidature of DrMzembi. We want to assure him of our support," said Shoukry.

Mzembi met with the Egyptian officials as the Arab nation wields influence and is currently the chair of the UNWTO Executive Council which is expected to sit as the nomination court to receive the names of candidates interested in the post at its next meeting set for Oct 28 to Nov 2.

Meanwhile, Egypt and Zimbabwe are set to establish a Joint Tourism Technical Committee as the two nations seek to enhance co-operation in tourism in line with a Memorandum of Understanding signed in December 2014.

"We are definitely excited about our engagements here and one key thing that was at the epi-centre of our discussions was the urgent need to set up a Joint Tourism Technical Committee that will spearhead the operationalisation of our MoU with Egypt," said Mzembi.

"There are various programmes that will be implemented in the context of our MoU. One such key programme is the agreed Egypt Tourism Week to be held in February 2017 in Zimbabwe and the Zimbabwe Tourism Week in Egypt in April 2017 which, essentially, is a reciprocal event."

Rahed said the Egyptian government was keen to see the full implementation of the bilateral tourism pact. "We are happy to be hosting Minister Mzembi and his delegation in Egypt. There is indeed need to advance close cooperation especially in the field of tourism as espoused in our signed MoU," he said.

"Africa must do more in the areas of joint marketing and promotion activities if we are to increase our market share in terms of tourism global arrivals."