CHOMBA MUSIKA, Lusaka
THREE Government ministries in partnership with tourism stakeholders have formed a seven-member committee that will come up with proposals to revamp the tourism sector and ensure
it contributes to economic growth.
The ministries of Finance, Commerce, Trade and Industry, and Tourism and Arts have partnered with Tourism Council of Zambia members to come up with solutions to address the bottlenecks hampering the growth of tourism.
Minister of Finance Felix Mutati directed the formation of the joint-committee in Lusaka yesterday during a tourism stakeholders’ meeting.
The meeting was also attended by Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry Margaret Mwanakatwe and her Tourism and Arts counterpart Charles Banda.
Mr Mutati said it is high time Zambia began to actualise the potential that lies in the sector.
He said the tourism sector will only grow when Government and the private sector unite to find lasting solutions to challenges inhibiting the growth of tourism.
“Let us set up a team that will look at some of the key issues we discussed that have been constraining the growth of tourism.
“That team will later meet with Government to help come up with decisions that will help revamp tourism,” Mr Mutati said.
He said Zambia should stop investing more time in discussions at the expense of using them to find practical solutions that will improve tourism.
“I am worried that this meeting will be the typical conversations that we have been having which may not come up with solutions.
“So, let us not go beyond lunch time but come up with a team that should come up with a report by July[next month],” Mr Mutati said.
He said the terms of reference of the committee will include finding lasting solutions to address challenges affecting the tourism industry, such as bureaucracy and taxation policies.
Mr Mutati said Government wants the private sector to drive the growth of the tourism sector so that it can contribute to job and wealth creation.
And Mrs Mwanakatwe commended tour operators for being candid and frank when airing out their grievances.
She said the country has enough human resource and expertise to revamp the sector and make it competitive.