Eastern Province Permanent Secretary Chileshe Mulenga says government has set targets to grow the region by promoting the tourism sector through the Link Zambia 8000 road project.
Dr. Mulenga said Eastern province has the potential to grow in tourism and generate income evidenced by some of the major traditional ceremonies which took place recently such as the Nc’wala, Kulamba and Malaila.
Speaking at a tourism stakeholders meeting organized by the Zambia Tourism Board in Chipata last evening, Dr. Mulenga noted that the Link Zambia 8000 road project will connect the area to Mpika in Muchinga province unlike now where people have to first go to Lusaka to go north-wards.
Dr Mulenga however bemoaned lack of accommodation as a major challenge that most local and international tourists experience hence the need to build more lodges and hotels in the eastern province.
He said to support the growth of tourism in the region, the Provincial administration has requested district councils to identify public land for those who want to invest in the tourism sector.
Meanwhile, Zambia Tourism Board Managing Director Felix Chaila has called on Zambians to change their perspective that tourism is for foreigners.
Mr. Chaila explained that going to a shopping mall to buy groceries is a form of tourism because one is adding value to the economy of the country.
He also noted that the region has the largest concentration of wildlife adding that there is a need to upgrade its facilities.
Mr. Chaila said tourism will create an income for those that run markets, Museums and also own accommodation which in turn will contribute to the economic growth of the country.
And Hotel and Catering Association of Zambia Regional chairperson Elvis Muhone said the association was working hard to ensure proprietors of hotels, lodges and guest houses are its members.