THE Government has engaged the South African authorities on the need for that country to waive the yellow fever certificate requirement for travellers and discussions will start soon.
The Zambian Government says the yellow fever certificate requirement by South Africa for travelers to and from Zambia is the biggest barrier to tourist inflows into the country.
Tourism and Arts Permanent Secretary Steven Mwansa said it was important for South Africa to withdraw the yellow fever vaccination requirement for travellers to and from Zambia saying that this proved to be the biggest hurdle to tourist inflows.
In an interview in Lusaka yesterday, Mr Mwansa said the Government had engaged the South African government on the matter and discussions would resume soon.
“The matter has been taken up by the Ministry of Health as it is considered a health matter. South Africa was in voting gear recently so engagements will resume shortly at ministerial level,” Mr Mwansa said.
According to Zambia Tourism Board (ZTB), the removal of the yellow fever vaccination certificate requirement by South Africa will push up international tourist arrival figures by at least 10 per cent.
Last year, the Ministry of Health and World Health Organisation (WTO) carried out a survey on the prevalence rate of the yellow fever in Zambia.
The findings of the survey should now be able to facilitate the effective removal of the yellow fever certificate requirement by South Africa.
Mr Mwansa acknowledged that yellow fever was a Ministry of Health issue but pointed out that its impact on the tourism industry required his ministry to play a role.
Meanwhile, in a statement issued in Lusaka yesterday by ZTB public relations and media manager Caristo Chitamfya, Mr Mwansa said that Zambia and South Africa have agreed to work together to promote regional tourism.
He said that Zambia did not consider South Africa as a threat but as a ‘big brother’ with whom the country shares strong political, historical and cultural ties.