PRISCILLA MWILA, Lusaka
MINISTER of Tourism and Arts Charles Banda is impressed with the increase in domestic tourism, which saw 90,000 locals visit various heritage sites by the end of December last year.
Mr Banda said the recent statistics have shown that of 140,000 travellers that visited various tourist attraction sites, 90,000 were local people.
Mr Banda said in an interview yesterday that domestic tourism is potentially one of Zambia’s best prospects for economic diversification and growth.
“Domestic tourism is our main target; we want to grow it locally before we can sell it to international market. I am happy to see more Zambians showing interest in our various heritage sites. The responsibility to sell our heritage sites to the international market should be everyone’s responsibility,” he said.
Mr Banda said as the country embarks on economic diversification, the tourism sector has been identified as one of Zambia’s key economic sectors due to the vast resources and various products the nation has to offer.
He said the tourism sector in Zambia has potential to grow further but there is need to vigorously promote domestic tourism.
Mr Banda said Zambia can only be sold effectively to the international market if local people acquaint themselves with knowledge behind every site.
He said tourism can have a strong bearing to Zambia’s economic development, cultural growth and national integration if preserved well.
Mr Banda appealed to the private sector to invest in domestic tourism industry to assist it to grow and become competitive in the region.
He said young people are future leaders hence the need for them to take keen interest in knowing their culture as a way of conserving the country’s national heritage.