The Zambian government has called for strengthened bilateral relations with Turkey in order to improve the country’s tourism industry.
And government has asked the Turkish government to establish a flight from Istanbul in Turkey to Lusaka and Livingstone in Zambia in order to increase tourist arrivals from Europe to Zambia.
Minister of Tourism and Art, Sylvia Masebo said Zambia’s tourism industry has a lot of attractions to offer but it has remained untapped due to lack of marketing to other countries.
Speaking when the first Turkish ambassador to Zambia Ahmet Arda paid a courtesy call on her at her office today, Mrs. Masebo said Zambia has plenty of tourist attractions that include wildlife, waterfalls and other natural resources but has few tourists visiting the country.
She said the country can learn from Turkey which is more advanced in tourism especially in attracting tourists via marketing.
She said the two countries could work well together especially if they signed an agreement and work on reducing the visa fees to allow more people visit the country without difficulties.
The minister proposed to the Turkish ambassador to introduce a flight from that country to Zambia’s capital city Lusaka and the tourist capital, Livingstone.
Mrs. Masebo noted that Zambia would be very willing to receive tourists from Turkey and other European countries to sample the country’s tourism.
Turkish Airlines is the national airline of Turkey and has its base at Ataturk International Airport in Istanbul.
The Airline, which was established in 1933, as the state airlines administration, operates a big network of scheduled services to 155 destinations, including 32 domestic cities and 123 global cities.
Mrs. Masebo told the Turkish ambassador that Zambia has more than 20 national parks and 36 game management areas that have various species of animals.
And Mrs. Masebo has invited the Turkish delegation to attend the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) General Assembly which will be hosted by Zambia and Zimbabwe in August this year.
She said the Turkish delegations will also be required to attend some of the activities such as the international investment forum and various entertainment activities that will precede the general assembly.
She said Zambia would like to host the Turkish delegation in one of the seven hotels that have been arranged for the WTO guests.
And the Turkish Ambassador to Zambia Ahmet Arda said his country was ready to work with Zambia in improving the tourism industry which he described as one of the key sectors in economic development.
Mr. Arda said Turkey also considers tourism as a vital sector to the development of the country.
He added that his country has used tourism to achieve a lot of things.
The envoy noted that Zambia has a lot of tourism activities to offer to the world and advised the minister to introduce Zambia to Turkey during one of the many fairs that country holds every year.
He has since invited Zambia to attend the tourism fair in Turkey this year so that the people of that country and others countries can see what Zambia can offer them.
He said the fair would be an important opportunity for Zambia to sale its tourism industry to the world.
The ambassador disclosed that Turkey records about 30 million tourist arrivals in a year and over 10 million people depart that country to other countries for tourism.
Mr. Arda said once Zambia is introduced on the market, it could receive some of the tourists.
He applauded Zambia for uniting the over 72 tribes with various cultures into one family which he said people in his country would also want to see.