A Tourism Hero is Back on the World Stage: Dr. Walter Mzembi

Dr. Walter Mzembi

Thanks to the support of the German Ambassador and after years in exile, Dr. Walter Mzembi will have a chance to remind the world of the role tourism adds to peace, tourism through folklore and culture. This will reinstate its standing on the global tourism agenda, which Dr. Mzembi understands and loves.

The Berlin Forum on Folklore Diplomacy 2024 will take place in Berlin, Germany, from May 16 to 19, 2024, focusing on Culture and Folklore Diplomacy to serve as a powerful vehicle of cultural diplomacy within and between nations.

Dr. Walter Mzembi told eTurboNews he was very excited to have been invited to deliver his keynote speech at this Berlin event, adding travel and tourism to this critical agenda.

Dr. Mzembis’s expected reminder that tourism is part of culture, peace, and folklore could not have come at a more critical and challenging international time.

With his background as a foreign minister in a country that went through enormous challenges and changes, his experience as one of the longest-serving ministers of tourism, and his participation as a candidate for Africa, competing second place in the UNWTO Secretary Election in 2018, he brings a tourism and geopolitical perspective to the event like no one else could.

Mzembi experienced it all in his career, including losing a UNWTO election due to corruption and manipulation, being shamed and arrested in his own country, fleeing to South Africa, and finally winning the court battle that cleared his name.

On October 19, 2020, while in South African Exile, the World Tourism Network awarded Dr. Walter Mzembi the Tourism Heroes Award.

For decades, all forms of culture and folklore have served as powerful, effective vehicles of cultural diplomacy, inspiring and enabling people to build and strengthen diplomatic, economic, and cultural bridges and come together to develop prosperous, peaceful relations.

Over the years, institutions and individuals have used the unique potential of culture and folklore to transcend cultural barriers. They serve as common languages to unite different groups and communities and promote democracy, cultural understanding, human rights, and more.

The Berlin Forum on Folklore Diplomacy 2024 will take place in Berlin from May 16 – 19, 2024, focusing on the potential for Culture and folklore Diplomacy to serve as powerful vehicles of cultural diplomacy within and between nations.

The forum will examine examples of Cultural and folklore diplomacy and explore potential future applications in international relations.

It will bring together renowned figures from international politics, art, and academia to speak to an interdisciplinary audience, including diplomatic and political representatives, young professionals, scholars, and academics.


The English researcher William John Thoms coined the term folklore in 1846 when he founded folklore as an academic field.

Folklore communicates folk traditions in diverse forms, such as customs, music, dance, cultural foods, poetry, clothing, art, folk tales, and language.

Folklore developed simultaneously as nation-states, industrialization, and modernization. The development of nationalities comes together with developments in folk identity and folk tales.

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About the author

Juergen T Steinmetz

Juergen Thomas Steinmetz has continuously worked in the travel and tourism industry since he was a teenager in Germany (1977).
He founded eTurboNews in 1999 as the first online newsletter for the global travel tourism industry.

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