THE tourism industry will receive a boost with a strong contingent of Italian tour operators and journalists expected to visit Zambia soon to sample the country’s vast tourism products.
The contingent has been impressed with Zambia’s marketing of various tourism sites through the embassy in Rome and will seek to advertise the sites back in Italy. Zambia remains among the few countries that boast of a conflict-free environment which tourists and operators find attractive.
Italy’s Sunny Travel managing director Michelina Gabrie Sanquest said her organisation was planning to bring several tour operators and tourism journalists to Zambia to explore the country’s tourism.
She was speaking in an interview at the ongoing 2014 Sanganai/Hlanganani World Travel and Tourism Africa Fair in Harare yesterday.
Ms Sanquest said the Italian tour operators would visit Zambia for an educational tour while Italian tourism journalists would soon visit the country to explore on their own.
The Sanganai/Hlanganani World Travel and Tourism Africa Fair, which is being attended by the Zambia Tourism Board (ZTB) and Zambian tour operators, has attracted more than 200 tourism buyers and exhibitors as well as international journalists in Africa and across the globe.
“Italian tour operators and tourism journalists will be visiting Zambia to explore the country’s tourism and later market the products in Italy. We will be coming in collaboration with the Zambian Embassy in Rome,” she said.
Ms Sanquest said Zambia was a peaceful and friendly country that everybody across the world should always make an effort to see.
She said political stability was one of the factors that influenced tourism decisions across the globe.
Ms Sanquest said Zambia was easy to access in terms of air connectivity as there was a flight from Rome to Addis Ababa through to Lusaka.
“I already made a proposal to the Zambian Embassy in Rome, Italy, to be a representative for Zambia as a tourist destination.
“The aim of this proposal is to promote Zambia and Africa in Italy because the country is a far better place to visit,” Ms Sanquest said.
Speaking at the Zambian pavilion, ZTB marketing director Mwabashike Nkulukusa said the Italian market had been one of the targeted places to sell Zambia’s tourism products.
He was impressed that an Italian tour operator had offered to market Zambia in her country at minimal cost, saying the move would stimulate more tourist arrivals to Zambia.
“Most journalists in Italy don’t know much about Zambia and we are trying to make an arrangement so that they appreciate Zambia’s tourism and endowment when they come.
“This is a destination they can’t ignore. We want very renowned Italian bloggers to also come and get some sites and do blogging,” he said.
Mr Nkulukusa said ZTB was moving more into e-marketing as it believed that this was currently the way to go in terms of effective tourism marketing.
“Currently, more than 70 per cent of travellers globally search through the internet before they travel and we believe we can capture the Italian market,” he said.