Govt warns tour operators

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————–The Ministry of Tourism and Arts has warned tour operators in Livingstone running lodges and guest houses illegally to legalize their businesses or risk facing the wrath of the law.

Tourism and Arts South-West Region Standards Health Inspector Frank Mtolo said all unlicensed guest houses and lodges that do not adhere to the required standards or comply with the stipulated regulations to the minimum standards will be closed down by the ministry.

Mr. Mtolo accused tour operators of lacking interest to register their businesses and consequently lacked knowledge on standards they are required to uphold.

In an interview with ZANIS, Mr. Mtolo said the Ministry was facing challenges in controlling the standards of infrastructure in the hospitality industry as some tour operators were not captured in the ministry’s database and those on record failed to renew their licenses.

“The attitude of these people is not right and as a result our ministry has been facing challenges in controlling the standards because some of them do not appear in our data base and, those in our data base do not renew their licenses,” he said.

He said the behavior by tour operators towards renewing their licenses made it difficult for the department of inspections to work effectively.

Mr. Mtolo alleged that some tour operators did not want to get licensed as they were avoiding the responsibility of making mandatory payments.

He also explained that Livingstone was a very competitive place for both local and international operators and if the locals continued with the negative attitude of turning a blind eye to the rules and regulations of the standards inspections office, they would lose out on the market.

Mr. Mtolo said it was regrettable for local tour operators to shun his office as they were supposed to work together to enhance tourism activities in the city and the country in general.

He has since called on the lodges and other tour operators offering accommodation in Livingstone to familiarize themselves with the Tourism and Hospitality Act of 2007 so that they are aware of the stipulated regulations and know what government expects from them.