PRETORIA – 18th May, 2015 – GOVERNMENT is working on creating a body that will promote and market Zambia as a business destination of choice.
Tourism and Arts Minister, Ms. Jean Kapata, has said that Government would like to tap into business tourism, also known as Meetings, Incentives, Conventions and Exhibitions (MICE).
Ms. Kapata said that the global trend was that business tourists spent six times more than leisure tourists and that work was underway to create a Zambia Convention Bureau so that the country derives maximum benefits.
She said with increased business tourism, Zambia should be able to see an increase in tourist arrivals, increased expenditure as well as longer stay in the country by tourists.
Ms. Kapata disclosed this on 9th May at a cocktail reception held on the sidelines of the 2015 Tourism Expo in Durban, South Africa which ran from 8 – 11th May, 2015.
She also said Government was in discussions with several local and foreign investors to attract increased investment in hotels, convention centres and tourism training.
The Minister further disclosed that a new Tourism and Hospitality Policy will shortly be tabled before Cabinet and should, if approved, be launched before the end of the year.
“A Tourism and Hospitality Bill is with the Ministry of Justice which we hope will go to Parliament next month. We also hope to finalise review of the National Parks and Wildlife Policy before the end of the year which will immediately be followed with new legislation,” Ms. Kapata said.
She said Government has made progress in reviewing policies and legislation to create a favourable environment for private sector participation in tourism.
The Minister also told the audience that a consultant was currently visiting Zambia and Zimbabwe to make an evaluation of the KAZA UNIVISA pilot project. The results will determine whether to extend the pilot phase or close it to facilitate entry of new participants. The project involves piloting the creation of a common Visa for the SADC region which is expected to facilitate cost-effective and easier movement of tourists across borders.
Ms. Kapata also noted that Government was happy with the lifting of the Yellow Fever requirement for travellers between Zambia and South Africa.
She invited participants at this year’s Tourism Expo in Durban to equally take part in the inaugural Zambia Travel Expo (ZATEX) to be held in Lusaka from 21-23rd May, 2015.
And speaking at a Ministerial Roundtable Discussion on 8th May, 2015, Ms. Kapata pointed out that Zambia has long-recognised that business friendly regulation was key to creating a liberal economic environment that promotes increased investments, economic diversification and competiveness.
She said Zambia has moved a step further in this area by coming up with the Business Regulatory Act of 2014 through which Government has created the Business Regulatory Review Agency.
Through this measure, Zambia is aiming, among others, to establish an efficient, cost effective and easily accessible licensing system such that there will now be a single licensing system for business in each sector or group of businesses in a sector.
Government is also striving to create an electronic business register and also establish regulatory service centres around the country, two of which were already operational in Livingstone and Lusaka.
“My Ministry has also come up with a robust hotel investment programme anchored on domestic resource mobilization. Through this programme, we are attracting pension funds, insurance funds and other institutional investors to develop hotel infrastructure which is then leased by international hotel brands.”
She said the Ministry of Tourism and Arts is further assisting domestic institutional investors in acquiring land in National Parks, Game Management Areas and chiefdoms.
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