Editor's Comment

Let’s learn from Kenya

LUSAKA City.

THAT Zambia and Kenya have agreed to partner in promoting tourism is indeed good news and a recipe for boosting Zambia’s sector, which has struggled to realise its potential.
It is good that Kenya comes into the partnership with vast experience and an established slot on the world tourism map.
It is acknowledged that while Zambia has struggled to market its tourism, Kenya, known for its diversity of landscape, wildlife and cultures, has earned itself global recognition.
The partnership is therefore an opportunity for Zambia to learn more strategies on how to market its tourist products, which have remained under-marketed for decates.
It is of concern that despite Zambia being home to some of the best tourist attractions in the world, the sector remains hugely unexploited thereby depriving the country of significant revenue.
Globally it has been proved that tourism is a powerful development tool and Zambia cannot afford to ignore it, especially that the country cannot continue relying only on mineral exports as its only key foreign exchange earner.
Tourism has potential to transform economies and ultimately improve the socio-economic status of the majority poor.
Countries across the globe such as Mauritius, Seychelles, Egypt and Kenya, among others, have tapped into the transformative power of tourism and the results are there for all to see.
We do not see any reason why Zambia should fail to derive significant benefits from tourism as other countries do.
Zambia has exceptional tourist attractions, many of which are much more spectacular than those that some countries market efficiently and draw thousands of visitors to.
Even without the added attractions, Zambis should be doing better than it is currently doing in generating wealth from the Victoria Falls, which is among the Seven Natural Wonders of the World.
Zambia also has smaller, but just as awesome, waterfalls in other parts of the country. The Kalambo and Ntumbachushi falls are some of them.
Our national parks are iconic because they harbour rare wildlife species.
The country also boasts of museums like Moto Moto, which houses a collection of artefacts related to Zambian culture, first collected by Canadian priest Jean Jacques Corbeil in the 1940s.
The presidential burial sites in Lusaka and Ing’ombe Ilede in Southern Province are all tourist attractions worth visiting.
Apart from Lake Kariba in Southern Province, we also have Lake Chila, which is of interest to historians because on its bed lies a collection of historic military weapons that have been there for more than half a century. They were dumped by soldiers from German East Africa (now Tanzania) after they surrendered belatedly to the Northern Rhodesia Rifles at the end of World War II.
It should worry us that while our country is richly endowed with so many unique tourist attractions, we have continued to record few tourist visits.
It is clear that as a country, we have failed to market our tourism sites.
There is no justification why a tourist should, for instance, go to a country to view an ancient church or even the pyramids in Egypt made by human hands and not consider the mighty Victoria Falls, which no human skills can replicate.
Government has shown good will by putting in place policies that support the growth of the sector. For instance, Government recently introduced tourism levy which is aimed at funding tourism infrastructure development, among other areas.
And now Government has gone into a tourism partnership with Kenya to boost the tourism sector.
While there is evident political will to boost the tourism sector as one of the alternatives in the economic diversification agenda, some of those tasked to implement these plans are falling short of the expectations.
Zambia should move away from a culture of `talk’ to one of `action’.
We have talked a lot about making tourism one of the major economic drivers; it is now time to act.
It is therefore hoped that the partnership with Kenya will help Zambia boost her economic fortunes through tourism.






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