Ministry of Tourism Permanent Secretary, Sylvester Maunganidze, said this when he gave an update of the UNWTO preparations before the parliamentary committee on natural resources on Monday.
“We were competing with big nations and wanted to win so we went with pictorial evidence which was exaggerated and we won but now its reality and we have to meet the standard presented,” said Maunganidze.
Zimbabwe will co-host the event with Zambia next year in August.
He said a recent visit to Spain with the Minister of Tourism Walter Mzembi revealed that the expected delegates were 1 000 more than the 3 000 they had been working with since August last year when they won the bid to host the event.
“Most of the money promised is still on paper making it difficult to develop Victoria Falls to levels we were aiming at. Until such funds are made available I will be selling an imaginary Victoria Falls,” Maungidze said.
He said he was embarrassed to have to lie that Air Zimbabwe was flying internationally when it was not.
“I cannot go out of Zimbabwe and say we do not have an airline. I am forced to lie or exaggerate something which I have been doing very well,” said Maunganidze.
He also said KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, which had shown interest in flying to Zimbabwe, left the country three weeks ago citing very high landing fees by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAAZ) the ministry of tourism has said.
The ministry of tourism permanent secretary Sylvester Maunganidze said had CAAZ been charging “reasonable” rates KLM would be flying into Zimbabwe.
He said it did not make sense to charge fees that caused international airlines to flee the country.
“KLM came here (Zimbabwe) three weeks ago and left because the landing fees by CAAZ were very high,” Maunganidze told a parliamentary committe on Natural resources on Tuesday.