Government is not considering granting traffic rights to Emirates airlines for the air company to land directly into Livingstone during the United Nations World Tourism Organisation’s (UNWTO) conference.
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Communication, Works, Supply and Transport Muyenga Atanga said most of the preparations for the 20th UNWTO general assembly slated for August this year were centred on infrastructure development of the airports in the country adding that government was not looking at airlines at the moment.
Recently, Emirates Airlines vice president for Africa operations, Jean Luc Grillet disclosed that the airline had requested the Zambian government to grant the company traffic rights to land its planes directly into Livingstone during the UNWTO meeting.
The company stated that it was important for it to land directly into Livingstone in order to contribute to the development of the tourism industry.
But Dr. Atanga said government was not aware of the appeal as it had not received any formal written request from the airline.
He added that preparatory committees were in place to look at various areas such as transport and security in readiness for the tourism general meeting.
Dr. Atanga further said the ongoing rehabilitation works at Kenneth Kaunda Airport in Lusaka and Harry Mwanga Nkumbula Airport in Livingstone were showing significant progress to indicate the country’s readiness to host the conference.
The UNWTO General Assembly is the supreme organ of the United Nations with ordinary sessions held every two years and attended by delegates of the full and associate members and representatives from the business council.
It is the most important meeting of senior tourism officials and high-level representatives of the private sector from all over the world.