The United Nations is nothing if not predictable. If there’s a women’s rights post, it’ll be a toss up between Iran and Saudi Arabia. If there’s a free press position, it’ll go to China.
The United Nations World Tourism Organisation? The choice is obvious. Zimbabwe.
Zimbabwe is run by Mugabe, a thug and a terrorist running on a racist platform of voter intimidation and land seizures. After destroying the national currency, the African version of Detroit found that it’s running short on tourists.
Since Mugabe began seizing land from white farmers and handing it over to his cronies, tourism dropped by 75%. Less than 20% of hotel rooms are occupied. This is a problem as tourism is about the only part of Zimbabwe’s economy that still worked after Mugabe destroyed its agriculture.
So bring on the tourists.
The non-governmental human rights group UN Watch expressed “grave disappointment” at the UN decision to make Zimbabwe co-host of a global tourism summit, which opens tomorrow, saying it’s a “disgraceful show of support — and a terribly-timed award of false legitimacy — for a brutal, corrupt and authoritarian regime.”
Zimbabwe will now become co-president, together with Zambia, of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) until 2015.
“Amid reports of election-rigging and ongoing human rights abuses, Zimbabwe is the last country that should be legitimized by a UN summit of any kind,” said UN Watch executive director Hillel Neuer.
I suppose it’s the last country after Somalia, Iran, Syria, China, Saudi Arabia, Russia and most of the rest of the United Nation’s democracy of dictators.
How exactly will everyone get to Zimbabwe?
Several airlines have also pulled out of Zimbabwe. Australia’s Qantas, Germany’s Lufthansa and Austrian Airlines were among the first to pull out and most recently British Airways suspended all direct flights to Harare. The country’s flagship airline Air Zimbabwe still flies to the United Kingdom but has to make several stops en route for refuelling.
Let’s talk about Air Zimbabwe, which is almost as functional as the rest of the country.
In February 2004, it was revealed that Air Zimbabwe had been temporarily suspended by International Air Transport Association (IATA) over unpaid debts. A foreign exchange crisis in the country led to the cancellation of the carrier’s operations in late 2005, following the lack of hard currency to pay for the fuel.
It was informed in February 2011 that the airline temporarily suspended its flights to Johannesburg over likely impoundments of its planes by creditors due to unpaid debts
It was disclosed in 2006 that passenger numbers had fallen from 1 million in 1999 to 23,000 in 2005.
In late October 2006, the prices of Air Zimbabwe tickets increased up to 500%, partly due to the inflation in the country rising to over 1,000%
Air Zimbabwe ceased operations in late February 2012. Serving a reduced domestic network, the carrier resumed operations for a short period between May and early July 2012, when flights were again discontinued. Some flights were restarted on a discontinuous basis in November that year. The airline resumed operating some domestic routes as well as the regional service to Johannesburg on a daily basis in April 2013.
As of January 2012, it was 100%-owned by the Government of Zimbabwe.
Shocker. A 100 percent gov owned airline that’s all but bankrupt. Air Zimbabwe even had one of its planes seized in the UK.
More than 200 Air Zimbabwe passengers remain stranded at Gatwick Airport on the ‘Victorian Falls’ aircraft, following the seizure of one of the carrier’s aircraft by an American aviation services company to which it owed money. 12th December 2011
The long haul aircraft Boeing 767-200 Air Zimbabwe plane known as Victoria Falls which flew the London to Harare has been reported imponded at Gatwick Airport.
Once rated as one of the best airlines in Africa, Air Zimbabwe trying to gain its past glory but has beebn marred by on going strikes and unpaid debts. Aviation firm, American General Supplies (AGS) secured a court injunction in the US that gave them the power to impound the aircraft over US$ 1, 2 million debt.
Air Zimbabwe never had any glory. Air Rhodesia did.
Still pondering flying the unfriendly Mugabe skies?
The pilot’s voice came over the loudspeaker. “We’re all ready to go ladies and gentlemen. However, we’ve been waiting for the copilot, and he still hasn’t arrived. Since we’ve already waited so long, we’re just going to be flying without a copilot today.”
Once we reached cruising altitude, the pilot made another announcement. “Ladies and gentlemen, I am going to use the bathroom. I have put the plane on auto-pilot, and everything will be fine. I just don’t want you to worry.” That said, he came out of the cockpit and fastened the door open with a rubber band to a hook in the wall. Then he went into the bathroom.
Suddenly, we hit a patch of turbulence. Nothing much, the cabin just shook a little for a moment. But the rubber band holding the cockpit door open snapped off with a loud “ping!” and went sailing down the aisle. The door promptly swung shut.
A moment later, the pilot came out of the bathroom. When he saw the closed door, he stopped cold. It slowly dawned on me that our pilot was locked out of the cockpit.
After a moment of contemplation, the pilot hurried to the back of the plane. He returned holding a big ax. Without ceremony, he proceeded to chop down the cockpit door.
Come to Zimbabwe. You probably won’t die. Maybe. At least not until Mugabe decides you should. Or this guy.