Lusaka – Zambia has unveiled a US$38 billion four-year-tourism sector revival masterplan that will be pivotal to the country’s post-pandemic economic recovery.
The Zambia Tourism Association, the Events Professional Association and the soon-to-be established Conference Bureau will devise strategies that ensure the country becomes an attractive destination for international business and leisure travellers.
Tourism Minister Rodney Sikumba this week expressed confidence in the sector’s growth prospects.
“We will establish a Conference Bureau that will oversee both local and international events and with the number of events expected to happen, it will provide incentives and help rebound the tourism sector and some will be reflected as coronavirus relief in 2022,” Minister Sikumba said.
The government will also realign legislation to make business operations in the sector better primed to contribute to national economic development.
President Hakainde Hichilema’s new administration has prioritised tourism as a growth pillar, with particular focus on job creation and poverty reduction.
Tourism in Zambia, as in other African countries, has suffered during the COVID-19 pandemic as fewer people travel. This has seen governments advocating for greater domestic tourism, but this is hampered by low disposable incomes. Tourism in Africa represents 8.5 percent of the continent’s GDP and employs around 24 million people directly.
Addressing legislators soon after his August 12 poll victory, President Hichilema said, “Our administration will put in place a robust programme to facilitate a quick recovery of the sector and in the next five years, our administration will focus on attracting international tourists while promoting domestic tourism for enhanced sector resilience.”
Marketing Zambia is being undertaken through a strategy that includes promotion of traditional ceremonies, visual arts, culture and heritage sites. In addition, infrastructure will be upgraded, with emphasis on roads, airports and airstrips in the north of the country.
“These interventions, among others, will not only make Zambia a tourism destination of choice, but also contribute to restoring economic growth in the country,” President Hichilema said.