Tourism and Arts Minister Jean Kapata says the number of tourist entering Zambia will hit 1 million before the end of this year.
Ms. Kapata says the influx of tourists in 2014 was 900,000. She added that an additional 100,000 tourists were expected to visit Zambia this year.
The minister was speaking in an interview with ZANIS in Lusaka Mar 19.
She attributed the number of tourists entering into the country due to co-hosting of the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) by neighbouring Zimbabwe and Zambia last year.
“In 2014, the number of tourists who visited Zambia was 900,000 but we expect an increase this year beyond one million following the co-hosting of the UNWTO that spurred tourism activities in the country,” she said.
Ms. Kapata said his ministry working with the private sector though the private public partnership arrangement in order to improve the tourism sector and make it more attractive.
She said government is rehabilitating and constructing the road infrastructures leading to hotels, lodges and Guest Houses because a good road infrastructure is key to attracting foreign exchange in the country.
She added that government would soon open direct flights to Lusaka instead of connecting to other destinations when coming to Zambia.
She cited that there is no direct flight from Germany Frankfurt’s town to Lusaka and passengers are subjected to stop in other cities including other major cities hence connectivity was a big challenge
her ministry was addressing.
“Connectivity is major challenge for us as a country because we don’t have direct flights from other cities coming to Lusaka. Aeroplanes have to stop to other destinations before coming to Zambia but we’re working on that not only to woo tourists but investors too,” Ms. Kapata said.
Ms. Kapata further disclosed government is determined to open up the national airliner before the end of this year.
Ms, Kapata, who is also PF Mandevu member of Parliament, said the death of late president Michael Sata hampered the development of some major projects in the country.
On the hospitality industry, the minister said Hillton Group of Companies have expressed interest to build a hotel along the Cairo Road in Lusaka at the refurbished Society House.
She added that land has been secured near the Victoria Falls in Livingstone and government is inviting an investor to build a big hotel of international standard/s.
“Land is available at the Victoria Falls in Livingstone and we’re looking for an investor to construct a very big hotel there,” she said.
On Zambia wildlife Authority (ZAWA) the minister disclosed that it would be mainstreamed into a department under her ministry.
“I won’t appoint Board at ZAWA but it is slowly being transformed into a department under my ministry,” She said.