Take advantage of tourism fund – Masebo

THE private sector has been urged to take advantage of the Tourism Development Fund if they are to enhance infrastructure development and growth in the industry.

Tourism and Arts Minister Sylvia Masebo said the facility could also enable the sector to develop its products, research and training.

Ms Masebo said during review of the final draft of the Tourism policy document that the introduction of the Tourism Development Fund (TDF) in the 2014 Budget will facilitate long-term sustainability of the industry.

The minister said long-term sustainability of the TDF depended on introduction of the tourism levy.

“The 2014 Budget provides for the introduction of the Tourism Development Fund as provided for under the Tourism and Hospitality Act to promote product development, research, training and infrastructure development,” she said.

Ms Masebo said consultations were underway with the private sector on the modalities for the tourism levy.

She said the ministry had established the Tourism Development Credit Facility which had been transferred to the Citizen Economic Empowerment Commission (CEEC).

“We are however, still responsible for administering repayments for disbursements made before transfer of the facility,” Ms Masebo said.

The industry was underperforming, therefore, the need to grow Zambian tourism and its facilitators such as increasing tourist arrivals, making tourists stay longer in country, diversifying the products and removing the unnecessary barriers to reduce the cost and hassle of travelling to Zambia.

“It is also important to make Zambia an exciting and growing destination that realises its full potential and rewards the tourist with unique, authentic and treasured experiences, “Ms Masebo said.

The policy document was an important leadership tool providing vision, inspiration and momentum to all actors in the tourism industry.

“In this state of unrealised potential, the role of the tourism policy document once adopted will be to enable us during the implementation realise the full potential of Zambian tourism,” she said.

Ms Masebo said the policy document should encourage spirited initiatives towards its full implementation.

Times of Zambia