NOMSA NKANA, Lusaka
IN AN effort to grow the tourism sector, Government has allocated over K14.9 million to the Zambia Tourism Agency (ZTA) for this yearâ€™s operational activities and capital investments.
Of the allocation, a total of K8,195,500 will go towards operational activities while K6,709,986 is for capital investments.
Ministry of Finance permanent secretary for budget and economic affairs Pamela Chibonga said Government acknowledges the pivotal role that the Tourism sector plays in sustainable development both for rural and urban development, especially, in realisation of foreign currency and job creation.
â€œBudgetary allocation to tourism marketing has been increased to about K15 million from K3 million previously,â€ she said when she appeared before the parliamentary committee on land, environment and tourism,â€ she said.
Ms Chibonga said the tourism sectorâ€™s contribution to gross domestic product (GDP) increased from K183,381 in 2015 to K213, 139 in 2016 representing two percent.
She also said contribution of the sector to domestic revenues increased from K33,721, 610 in 2015 to K42,109,127 in 2016.
Under the tourism sector, accommodation and food service are the major contributors to GDP.
â€œContribution of tourism in terms of consumptive and non-consumptive activities to domestic revenues has been mainly from four out of 20 national parks, namely South Luangwa, Mosi-o-tunya, Lower Zambezi and Kafue national parks,â€ she said.
Meanwhile, Ms Chibonga said Zambia is facing challenges in the tourism sector such as tourists perceiving the country to be a high-cost tourism destination.
â€œThis is due to costs people incur when connecting from one flight to another to get to this country,â€ she said.
She said it is for this reason that Government is working towards having a national airline to reduce on costs tourists pay for connectivity.
Ms Chibonga said another challenge is that tourism products being offered by Zambia are limited, resulting in tourists only staying in the country for about three days
NOMSA NKANA, Lusaka