Open up tourism sector

waterfront lodge - Livingstone, Zambia July 2013 Pre-UNWTO in Pictures

THE tourism sector in Zambia holds a lot of promise for employment creation, especially for the youth who could be assisted to open up more spaces to improve their living standards.
For quite a long time, many interest groups have harped on the subject of shifting economic focus from mining, the country’s major income earner, to other similarly lucrative sectors yet to be fully exploited.
Fears have been expressed about mineral deposits which at some point will run out and, therefore, the need to invest in other ventures that will keep the wheels of the country’s economy running for many years to come.
If they were well-developed, agriculture, tourism, and manufacturing are some of the sectors that would provide important facets on which Zambia’s economy would be based.
We are elated by the massive developments that have been achieved in Livingstone in preparation for the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) general assembly that will be co-hosted with Zimbabwe.
There have been notable steps taken to improve roads and other critical infrastructure which will not end with the hosting of the UNWTO indaba, but will continue benefitting [benefiting]  the residents of the tourist capital and Zambians in general for many years to come.
We are encouraged by the projections the Government is giving on integrated development that must remain the crucial focus beyond the indaba starting this weekend that will certainly place Zambia on the world map.
However, our plea to the authorities concerned is to roll out investments in the tourism sector to all parts of the country.
We are aware of the many tourism spots dotted around Zambia which could go a long way in creating employment opportunities for the local populace and could also add to the country’s coffers.
This is the lesson to learn from what Vice-President Guy Scott said yesterday in Livingstone about ramping up investments in the tourism sector.
We concur with the Vice-President’s view that by attracting more tourists to Zambia, the country will in essence be creating more jobs in tourism.
There are vast opportunities to glean from this sector which has benefitted many other countries and Zambia must not be an exception.
What is important for all citizens is to ensure that energies are re-directed to potential economic spots that will change people’s lifestyles for the better.
It is no longer feasible to regard Livingstone as the only place that could be used to lure tourists when the country has game parks, lakes, rivers, mountains and many natural resources that must work to rake in more resources.
Indeed, the hosting of the UNWTO general assembly has presented a golden opportunity for Zambians to showcase the country’s vast tourism potential to the outside world.
As Dr Scott has rightly observed, the country needs to do more to do to market the tourism sector both locally and externally.
For this reason, we applaud the efforts that are being made to sell Zambia through missions abroad which are continually re-positioning themselves for the task.
We call upon the corporate world and individual Zambians to help uplift the noble duties of the Zambia Tourism Board that has so far shown demonstrable abilities to market the tourism sector beyond the borders.
With hard work, not even the sky will be the limit.