NKOMBO KACHEMBA, Kitwe
MINISTER of Tourism and Arts Charles Banda says Government has raised K5 million from the tourism levy since its introduction early
Mr Banda said in an interview yesterday that Government is on track to meet its target of collecting K11 million from the tourism levy this year.
“A number of people are visiting the tourist facilities that we have around the country and this has made it possible for us to raise K5 million from the tourism levy so far this year,” he said.
He said the tourism levy will greatly help Government to raise resources to promote the growth of the tourism sector in the country.
Mr Banda said Zambia is ranked as one of the most expensive tourist destinations in Africa, a development which has potential to hinder the growth of the sector.
He said this is because some lodges and hotels in the hospitality industry charge exorbitant fees, which are not in tandem with the services that they offer.
Mr Banda said the Ministry of Tourism and Arts will next year start the grading and rating of hotels and lodges in the hospitality industry according to their standards and the quality of services they offer.
He said this would help the tourists visiting certain tourist facilities to know how much they can pay for the services and what they expect from the places they visit.
“What makes Zambia the most expensive tourist destination is that you find some tourist facilities, especially those that are in bush camps, charging exorbitant fees of that of a five-star hotel.
“You also find tour operators operating a three-star hotel charging fees of that of a five-star hotel. We can only change this through the grading system, which we are introducing next year,” Mr Banda said.
He said the grading of the tour facilities will be done by the Zambia Tourism Agency (ZTA), which he noted would greatly help to promote “sanity” in the hospitality industry.