HE Zambia Tourism Board (ZTB) will embark on the promotion of domestic tourism in the Northern circuit to help increase tourist arrivals.
The Northern circuit covers Northern, Muchinga and Luapula provinces.
ZTB marketing director Mwabashike Nkulukusa said the nation-wide campaign, which the board had embarked on aimed to raise awareness levels amongst the local people in the Northern circuit.
So far the board had been able to tour Copperbelt, Southern, Lusaka and Eastern provinces to boost tourism activities.
“We are impressed by the impact that the campaign is having on domestic tourism statistics,” Mr Nkulukusa said.
In the past only around 25 to 30 percent of the visitors to Mosi-oa-tunya National Park in Livingstone were locals but since the campaigns started the number increased to around 50 per cent.
He said some tour operators had partnered with the board and had devised preferential rates for the locals.
The operators included Nkwali Camp in South Luangwa, Mukambi Safari Lodge in the Kafue National Park and Proflight Zambia amongst others.
Mr Nkulukusa said apart from the benefits of leisure which was part of stress management, it was easy for Zambians to market their country to friends outside if they were personally exposed to the tourism products.
“The benefits are many, not only for the economy in terms of helping to create jobs but also a cathartic experience,” he said.
From November to around April most of the lodges around national parks go on recess due to bad weather conditions and this is an off-peak period for international tourists.
To balance up, he said the board had specifically liaised with the lodge owners to devise tailor made products for local people who want to visit parks around this period.
“Dubbed the green campaign, the initiative is also a big benefit for the operators who lose business during the period due to low international arrivals,” Mr Nkulukusa said.
He thanked media houses for coming on board to help in the campaign by reducing prices for advertising rates aimed at promoting local tourism.
Through this and many other campaigns the board was aiming to raise the level of the industry’s contribution to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) which was currently accounting for approximately four per cent.
[Times of Zambia]