State to revise Livingstone tourism plan

NANCY MWAPE, Livingstone
GOVERNMENT has embarked on the review of the greater Livingstone tourism development master plan to make the tourist capital more competitive and attract visitors stay for a longer period.
The Ministry of Tourism and Arts is reviewing the plan to come up with new programmes that will have direct impact on Livingstone’s tourism.
Addressing departmental heads from the ministry on Thursday, Ministry of Tourism and Arts chief tourism development officer John Chiluwe said the current situation where tourists stay only for a maximum of three days is not helping the growth of tourism sector.
“The aim is to have tourists stay for one week, which will allow them spend their money locally. It is sad after expanding our airport here in Livingstone, we are seeing more tourists using the facility to connect to Zimbabwe, Namibia or Botswana,” he said.
Mr Chiluwe said the plan is also aimed at product diversification to develop accommodation that will cater for classes from low to high class tourists.
“The accommodation found currently in Zambia is targeted at the high class tourists and middle class. It is important that accommodation caters for all classes of tourists.
“Most people don’t go on holidays and this is affects productivity in places we operate… We should encourage our own people to go on holidays,” he said.
Mr Chiluwe said the tourism sector planning programme is designed to bring about integrated coordinated tourism plans and planning at all levels including community, zone and district, provincial or national levels.
It will also include strategic planning process in all related aspects and sub sectors including environmental assessments.
Mr Chiluwe said the plan is also looking at new places such as Zimba, Kalomo, Sesheke, Choma, Mulobezi and Mwandi to focus on product  identification in terms of infrastructure development.
He said the exercise is vital and builds on the developmental activities for next year which includes development of Livingstone as a tourist capital, Livingstone destination development and destination management programmes.

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