KELVIN CHONGO, Lusaka
PRESIDENT Lungu has directed the Ministry of Tourism and Arts to partner with the Ministry of Local Government and Housing to devise plans for establishing more national parks in the country.
â€œYou need to start drawing up plans for establishing game parks in surrounding towns and cities in Zambia which, in addition to the development of tourism, will also enhance wildlife conservation efforts,â€ President Lungu said.
Mr Lungu said this yesterday when opening Lusaka Park and unveiling of a memorial monument.
President Lungu said the newly opened Lusaka Park will preserve forests and the water table while adding beauty to the city.
He also said there is need for more city recreational facilities to boost local tourism.
â€œRecreational facilities such as national parks revitalise and enhance the quality of life, which is critical to higher productivity and rapid economic growth,â€ President Lungu said.
He also said investments in the tourism industry will be used as a green hub of conservation activities and scientific research in wildlife.
The President told councils to rehabilitate abandoned or disused community parks and convert them into centres of recreation and culture.
And Minister of Tourism and Arts Jean Kapata said the ministry will continue working with other agencies and ministries to develop the tourism industry.
Ms Kapata also told President Lungu that the Zambia Wildlife Authority (ZAWA) will soon be a department under the Ministry of Tourism and Arts to help transform the sector.
Meanwhile, ZAWA acting director general Andrew Kombe said the authority will continue to find ways to conserve and protect wildlife and the environment.
Mr Kombe said ZAWA spent K5 million to put up various infrastructure before the park officially opened yesterday.
He said ZAWA has introduced some exotic animal species from South Africa like the blesbok.
â€œAmong other species are white rhinos, giraffes, elands, hartebeests, zebras, sables, kudus, blue wildebeests, and waterbucks. Others are black lechwe, impalas, pukus, bushbucks, reedbucks, warthogs, one pangolin and axis deers,â€ he said.
Mr Kombe said the country has 20 national parks, 36 game viewing areas and one bird sanctuary.
KELVIN CHONGO, Lusaka