PRETORIA – 5th October, 2016 – GOVERNMENT has announced that it has taken a policy shift in marketing the country’s tourism and will now target various other forms of activities in order for Zambia to explore untapped potential and maximise benefits for the country.
The policy shift will see Zambia package and develop other forms of tourism such as health, academic and sports tourism.
Tourism and Arts Permanent Secretary, Mr. Steven Mwansa, has said that it was unfortunate that Zambia’s tourism has been hinged on nature and a few annual traditional ceremonies for far too long.
Mr. Mwansa disclosed that President Edgar Lungu has given a directive for the National Heritage Commission and other relevant institutions to be realigned to the Ministry of Tourism “a move which we see as very progressive as it will enable us market tourism as a total package.” He said the Ministry was just waiting for a Gazette Notice on bringing the National Heritage Commission under Tourism to be issued.
Mr. Mwansa was speaking when he addressed diplomatic staff at the Zambian High Commission in Pretoria this afternoon.
The Permanent Secretary has just attended the 17th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (CoP) to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), which took place in Johannesburg, South Africa from 24th September to 5th October, 2016.
Mr. Mwansa has also said that his Ministry was further pre-occupied with finding ways through which to grow hotel bed space across the country. He said the Ministry of Tourism has since engaged National Pensions Scheme Authority (NAPSA), National Housing Authority (NHA) and Zambia Postal Services (ZAMPOST) to agree on converting some of their buildings into hotels.
“We have lost out on hosting a number of big international events while we have shared some with other countries because the country does not have enough accommodation. We believe the approach we have taken is workable because it is easier to convert than to build hotels from scratch. A lot of investors don’t like doing that. And the feedback has been positive,” Mr. Mwansa said.
The Permanent Secretary has also backed calls for the re-introduction of a national airline pointing out that the nation should not limit its assessment to the profitability of such a venture but should consider other sectors and activities that would benefit if an airline was to be reestablished.
“We should stop looking at the profitability of a national airline in Zambia because even if this was not to happen, profit would be made in other areas. Just think of some big economies around the world which have maintained airlines that have not made profits in the last several years. The reasons are obvious; other areas of their economies are benefiting and making the entire country grow.”
On inadequate funding for tourism marketing activities, Mr. Mwansa said his Ministry was now working to partner with private organisations within and outside Zambia in order to fill-up the gap.
He said tourism has over the last few years increased its contribution to the gross domestic product from 2.1 to 3.5 per cent and that the target was to grow this to 10 per cent by 2030.
Meanwhile, Government has welcomed the uplisting of the Pangolin’s status from Appendix II – which allows for restricted trade – to Appendix I – a total ban on all trade, except for scientific research which came after months of vociferous lobbying.
Mr Mwansa said the population of the Pangolin, which was hunted for its scales believed to have rare medicinal properties, was “very small world-wide and the animal was threatened with extinction.”
The decision to place the Pangolin, an ancient species that has earned the unfortunate label of ‘the most trafficked mammal never heard of’, was arrived at after lobbying spearheaded by Zambia at the just-ended COP 17 conference.
And Zambia’s High Commissioner to South Africa, His Excellency Mr. Emmanuel Mwamba has said that the Mission organised the meeting because it thought it important that the Permanent Secretary addressed diplomatic staff in order to share the Ministry of Tourism policy direction and other developments.
He said it was further important because tourism had become one of the major sectors on which government was focusing to help make Zambia a more diversified economy.
HIGH COMMISSION OF ZAMBIA IN SOUTH AFRICA
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