ZAMBIA Tourism Board (ZTB) has called for reduced air fares into Livingstone to boost tourist arrivals.
Speaking in Livingstone on Friday during a media briefing, ZTB chief executive officer Felix Chaila said over 60 percent of the tourists coming into the city are local people.
“Livingstone can still do better if we improve on logistics. There is need to ensure that air fares into Livingstone are cheaper,” he said.
Mr Chaila said last year, Livingstone recorded an increase of over 300 percent growth in the meeting, incentives, conferences and events (MICE) sub-sector of tourism.
He said compared to 2014, when the city registered a 400 percent growth in conferences and meetings.
Meanwhile, ZTB is working at attracting 10,000 tourists to join in celebrating this year’s Livingstone International Cultural and Arts Festival (LICAF).
Mr Chaila urged people to book for accommodation in advance for the festival scheduled for the Easter holiday period.
“We are targeting 5,000 to 10,000 that should come to the carnival. We want to ensure that the event is self-propelling. We are targeting 10 countries, out of which six have already confirmed their participation,” he said.
The six countries are South Africa, Angola, Mozambique, Seychelles, Zimbabwe and Namibia, while Egypt is waiting for ZTB to confirm the logistics.
Mr Chaila said the LICAF national organising committee in Lusaka is already sitting to plan for the event.
“The team will ensure that it advertises in the neigbhouring countries so that there can be more people coming to the event. We are also looking at more advertising of the event through social media,” he said.
He said apart from holding festivals in the city centre, it will also be extended to residential areas, while junior carnivals will be held at schools.
Meanwhile, the National Heritage Conservation Commission (NHCC) says there were more local people visiting the Victoria Falls last year as compared to foreign tourists, SHIKANDA KAWANGA reports.
NHCC senior conservation officer Richard Mbewe said 156,967 people visited the Victoria Falls in 2015, and of these, only 30,000 were foreign nationals.
“This statistic translates into 67 percent of Zambians who visited the heritage site last year,” he said.
Mr Mbewe said in an interview that the rise in the number of local people visiting the Victoria Falls is an indication that Zambians are now appreciating their own tourist sites.
He said marketing tourist sites to foreigners becomes easier when they are appreciated by the local people.
the number of Zambians visiting the Victoria Falls has been increasing from 52 percent in 2013, 57 percent in 2015 up to 67 percent last year.
gate fees are low for Zambian tourists so as to encourage domestic tourism.
Mr Mbewe said the falls is an interesting site to visit even when the water levels are low as there are a lot of activities during that period.