KABANDA CHULU, Samfya
THERE is need to declare the Bangweulu wetlands in Samfya district a tourism economic zone as this will enable investors to enjoy tax rebates and develop the area as a hub of
the Northern Tourism Circuit, says Luapula Province Chambers of Commerce and Industry chairperson Jonathan Mukabila.
Government has prioritised agriculture, tourism and manufacturing as key sectors that should be promoted to diversify the country’s economy away from copper mining.
In an interview on Saturday, Mr Mukabila said the Northern Tourism Circuit comprising Luapula, Muchinga and Northern provinces has enormous potential that should be utilised to create jobs, improve people’s livelihoods and provide revenue to the treasury.
“This region has 40 percent of the country’s water bodies. It also has one of the world’s largest migration of bats at Kasanka National Park and natural white sands along the Lake Bangweulu beach.
“But there is need to address infrastructure such as the road networks leading to the sites and upgrading of Samfya airstrip to enable landing of larger aircrafts. Actually, the area should be declared an economic zone so that investors can enjoy tax rebates and develop the full potential of the tourist attractions,” he said.
Mr Mukabila also urged the private sector to be innovative and introduce products and services beyond what is currently being offered.
“There is still inadequate accommodation at the various sites, and we also tend to focus on showcasing natural resources only but there is need to venture into selling of curios, paintings and related artefacts.
“This way, we shall create linkages that will enable the industry’s benefits to trickle down to ordinary people who are still living in poverty, yet they are surrounded by precious natural resources,” he said.