Masebo optimistic about doubling Zambia’s tourist visits

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Minister of Tourism and Arts Sylvia Masebo has expressed optimism that Zambia will double the number of tourists visiting the country from the current one million to two million by next year.

And Mrs. Masebo has implored African media institutions to report positively about the continent.

Speaking when she graced the first ever African Regional United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) workshop in Lusaka, Mrs. Masebo said tourists will only be attracted to visit Africa if media institutions report positively about Africa’s rich tourism.

She observed that international media organisations have been reporting negatively about Africa hence the need for African journalists to undo the negative publicity the continent has been receiving.

Mrs. Masebo pointed out that tourism news seldom makes news headlines in both the print and electronic media and this perception can only be changed once journalists are fully equipped with information on tourism.

The Minister observed that there were some people who still believe that Africa was a dark continent.

She said this perception can only be changed if Zambia’s tourism potential was fully marketed through the media.

Mrs. Masebo noted that despite Zambia being endowed with abundant tourist sites, little has been done to market them to the outside world.

She noted that tourism cannot function without the full involvement of the media adding that without journalists, it would be difficult to push the tourism agenda forward.

Mrs. Masebo has since called for a cordial relationship between the media and the tourism sector.

Meanwhile, Mrs. Masebo has said the removal of VISA restrictions among SADC member states will help boost tourism.

She said easy movement for tourists is important in the promotion of tourism.

And UNWTO Deputy Regional Director for Africa, Helder Thomas has said tourism, if well marketed, has the potential to create jobs and improve the livelihood of local communities.

He noted that the co-hosting of the UNWTO by Zambia and Zimbabwe in August this year was a great opportunity for Africa to market its tourism potential.

The two days workshop has attracted both local and foreign journalists