Editor's Comment

Let’s market tourism

MBALA SIGHTS TOURISM

ZAMBIA still has untapped and vast tourism potential, coupled with a favourable environment, all factors which can make the sector turn around Zambia’s fortunes.
These factors provide opportunities for income-generation and job creation in the sector.
In fact, the tourism sector has been said to be the alternative to economic diversification as the country seeks to move away from dependency on copper.
However, as noted earlier, it is a sector which is still lacking investment to get it to levels where it can generate substantial income and contribute to gross domestic product (GDP).
At the same time, for those who wish to invest in the sector, Government has created an enabling environment in the sector to attract investors.
So, there is double gain for any investor who wants to explore the sector.
Apart from that, the attraction that comes indirectly in form of the myriad tourism sites the country is endowed with adds to the potential of the sector.
When President Edgar Lungu opened Urban Bliss Hotel in Kabwe on Friday, he urged foreign and local investors to take advantage of the enabling environment Government has created to invest in the tourism and hospitality industry.
President Lungu noted that in line with the Seventh National Development Plan, the attractive environment has led to the establishment of more lodges and hotels around the country.
According to a 2016 report presented to Parliament by the Committee on Lands, Environment And Tourism, Government wants Zambia to be among the top five tourist destinations of choice in sub-Saharan Africa by 2030.
Though Government is doing all this, it is worth noting that the marketing side of the sector has not done much to exhibit what Zambia has to offer to tourists, especially foreign ones.
Across the world, there are countries whose tourism potential is being exploited to the maximum and the gain from the sector contributes massively to their GDP.
These are France, Italy, Mexico, and in Africa, countries like Egypt, Morocco, South Africa, Algeria and Tunisia, some of which may not have the massive potential Zambia has.
With the Victoria Falls as the flagship of tourism, our nation should not be struggling with foreign tourist visits, which are said to be at 1.1 million (2017).
The need to aggressively market Zambia’s tourism sites to the world is lacking and we want to challenge stakeholders in tourism to go flat-out and mount marketing campaigns that will show the world what Zambia has to offer.
At our advantage are the many fora on which stakeholders can market Zambia’s tourism potential to the outside world and make them known so that we grow our figures of foreign tourist visits.
We should not sit back and relax, yet other countries market our sites, we complain, but worse still, we lose out on the benefits of tourism visits.
The task to achieve the 2030 Vision should not be left to Government alone if we want to see positive grown in the sector and unravel its potential to bring tangible benefits to the country.
Stakeholders need to come on board and partner with Government so that, together, they exploit the potential that will make Zambia a force to reckon with in tourism.

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