Zambia’s Tourism and Arts Minister Jean Kapata says plans to re-introduce a national airline have reached an advanced stage.
Speaking at a round table meeting for Ministers of Tourism organized by the Hotel Investment Forum in Berlin yesterday, Ms Kapata says the establishment of a national airline is on course and that the project had only experienced a delay due to the death of President Michael Chilufya Sata in October last year.
The Minister told the gathering that included Ministers of Ecuador, Dominican Republic, Antigua and Macedonia, that the new Zambian President Mr. Edgar Chagwa Lungu is committed to ensuring that the new national airline is established within the shortest time possible.
She said the new airline will compliment the Link Zambia 8,000 Road Development project in promoting easy access to the various tourism destinations and products that Zambia is endowed with such as the twenty wildlife parks, heritage sites, water bodies and the mighty Victoria Falls. She said the planned refurbishment and modernization of the KK International Airport, is another important development that will make local and international air connectivity more convenient. Ms Kapata revealed that Turkish Airlines will soon commence flights into Zambia while a partnership with Seychelles will lead to extended flights into Lusaka from the Indian Ocean Island.
The Minister said the Zambian Government considers Tourism as a major economic sector that can create wealth and jobs if well managed.
At the same Forum, the Minister called for investment in the tourism industry. Ms Kapata said Zambia was looking for a serious investor to put up a world class International conference Center in Zambia’s tourism capital Livingstone that will enable the country host big international conferences and exhibitions. She said Government had set aside a huge piece of land overlooking the Mighty Zambezi River, for this purpose. The Minister said the successful bidders will enjoy numerous incentives which include zero tax for the first five years and 50% thereafter, non interference by Government and the general peaceful political environment that the country is famous for.
The Minister’s Round table meeting took place on the sidelines of the ongoing ITB Tourism Fair in the German capital-Berlin. The Minister is accompanied by Permanent Secretary Stephen Mwansa, Chief Development Officer John Chiluwe as well as representatives from the Zambia Wildlife Authority (ZAWA) and the Hotel and Tourism Training Institute (HTTI).
The private sector is represented by the award winning Norman Carr Safaris of South Luangwa National Park, VOYAGERS, Track and Trail, Wild Dogs Safaris, and Kafue Bush Camps.
The Zambia Tourism Board in conjunction with the Ministry of Tourism and Arts and the Zambian Mission in Berlin is hosting the Zambian delegation at the event.