Govt. set to improve tourism infrastructure
Livingstone, June 19, 2014 ZANIS———-Tourism and Arts Permanent Secretary Steven Mwansa says government is set to improve infrastructure development in the tourism sector to enhance private sector participation and domestic tourism.
Mr. Mwansa stressed the need to build more airports and roads to ensure more tourist attractions could be accessed by local and international tourists.
“We have to push for the development of infrastructure; new airports, new aerodromes and roads leading to our tourism sites.
“ With that in place, the private sector will take advantage and build new lodges, guesthouses, hotels, settlements, shopping places, and that will then bring to fruition our program to promote domestic tourism,” he said.
The Permanent Secretary said this in an interview on Wednesday during a welcome cocktail party for SADC Tourism Ministers ahead of their 6th Meeting at Chrismar hotel in Livingstone.
Vice President Dr Guy Scott is scheduled this Friday to officially open the ministerial meeting of the Regional Tourism Organization of Southern Africa (RETOSA), which is the tourism wing of SADC.
Mr. Mwansa said the conference would provide an opportunity to identify areas that would give the country a competitive advantage, capacity to formulate new strategies and promotion of tourist sites and products.
“…As the third country among the 50 top emerging tourism destinations in the next decade, this conference gives us an opportunity to formulate new plans in order for us to develop the northern circuit so that we don’t over trade the Victoria Falls but look at other attractions – natural and cultural – in the other parts of the country,” he said.
The conference has drawn representatives from Malawi, Zimbabwe, Democratic Republic of Congo, Angola, Mozambique, South Africa, Seychelles, Namibia, Zambia and Botswana.
Meanwhile, Mr. Mwansa said SADC was advocating for the restructuring of RETOSA to make it relevant to current dictates, in terms of development and promotion of tourism in Africa.
“Over the past years, SADC has discovered a need for RETOSA to be restructured to make it relevant to the dictates of today, in terms of development and promotion of tourism in Africa, so this meeting is to chart the way forward in terms of which way RETOSA will go,” he said.
Mr. Mwansa also noted that there had been a lot of economic, cultural and environmental changes that needed to be addressed.
“There have been a lot of economic, cultural and environmental changes as well as the emergence of issues which were non issues 20 to 30 years ago. Now we talk about sustainable tourism not just tourism and tourism across borders because the world has become a global village and with it, tourism has had to move,” he said.
And the Permanent Secretary has appealed to the media to be responsible in their reporting as news about the country had a great impact on the credibility of the nation and dictated whether people came to visit or not.
“We have never had to shed blood against one another; yes we have had some small incidents but we have always managed to deal with them quickly.
“ The impression we create should be that this is the place to come; the friendliest people, the best weather, everything that anybody can be looking for in terms of what the almighty God has provided is here in Zambia,” he said.
Earlier, Zambia Tourism Board (ZTB) Managing Director Felix Chaila said Southern Africa commanded 40 percent of the total African tourism market.
Mr. Chaila said the record was worth celebrating as the region was doing well as a competitive tourism destination.