Tourism gains increase

TOURISTS game-viewing in South Luangwa National Park yesterday. PICTURE: SALIM HENRY/STATE HOUSE.

ZAMBIA’S annual tourism earnings increased from K3.9 billion in 2014 to K4.4 billion in 2015 representing 11.38 percent increase, the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) has reported.
However, according to a statement issued by Ministry of Tourism and Arts public relations officer Sakabilo Kalembwe yesterday, the earnings, when converted to United States dollars, dropped by 34.9 percent from US$616 million in 2014, to US$401 million in 2015.
Mr Kalembwe attributed the reduction in earnings mainly to the depreciation of the Kwacha against the dollar in the period under review.
“The annual tourism earnings increased from K3,945,710,713.08 in 2014, to K4, 408,160,075.42 in 2015, representing an increase of 11.38 percent. Accommodation establishments’ earnings for 2015 were K4,003,943,049.62, compared to K3,653,232,709.51 in 2014, representing an increase of 9.6 percent.
“The number of people employed in the hospitality industry during the year under review was 57,384 compared to 57,003 in 2014, recording an increase of 0.7 percent. Southern Province recorded the highest number of employees accounting for 22,872 employees in the hospitality industry, while Northern Province had the least at 836,” he said.
Mr Kalembwe said during the year under review, the total number of rooms available was 43,119, compared to 42,932 in 2014.
“The 2015 national annual average room occupancy rate increased from 61.9 percent in 2014, to 69.8 percent in 2015, while the national annual average bed occupancy rate was 71.4 percent, compared to 72.2 percent in 2014,” he said.
Mr Kalembwe attributed the increase in room occupancy rate to a rise in domestic tourism activities and meeting incentives and exhibitions.
He, however, said the average length of stay reduced to four days in 2015, compared to five and half days in 2014.

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