Why invest in Zambia’s Tourism Industry

There are currently two major areas which have been prioritised and earmarked by government for potential tourism development and these are the greater Livingstone and the Northern circuit situated in the Southern and Northern provinces of Zambia, respectively.

Huge potential in hotel industry

Tourism is a growing sector in Zambia. Between 1995 and 2007, the number of visitors to Zambia increased eightfold, reaching to 897,000 arrivals. While the recent international financial crisis negatively affected the tourist industry, dropping the number of arrivals to 710,000 in 2009, the tourism industry made a quick recovery. In 2010, the number of arrivals to Zambia was 815,000 and it was estimated that there were 950,000 arrivals in 2011. With the growing number of tourists, the development of hotels, holiday resorts, and private estates in identified and famous tourist destinations of the country presents an excellent investment opportunity.

Rich resources and competitive costs for investment

Zambia offers competitive operational costs, motivated English-speaking labour force, and training subsidies from Government Institutions.

The Tourism Industry requires abundant water supply. Zambia is well endowed with water relative to other countries in Southern Africa. The renewable water resource per capita is estimated at about 8,700m3 per year, well above the average for sub-Saharan Africa (7,000m3 per person per year) and the global average (8,210m3 per person per year).

Other resources include:

  • Land at central location in proximity to other countries in the region
  • Road Network
  • Telecommunication
  • Airline connectivity

The Victoria Falls

The Victoria Falls area is rapidly becoming the centre of adventure in the southern African region. It has various adrenaline sports, scenes of breathtaking proportions, and many other leisure options for outdoor lovers. Some of the activities available at the Victoria Falls and other surrounding areas include:

  • Whitewater Rafting through Batoka Gorge
  • Bungee Jumping off the 111m high Victoria Falls Bridge
  • Canoeing on the upper Zambezi
  • Horseback Trails along the Zambezi and the surrounding Teak forests
  • River Boarding mega thrills on the Zambezi rapids
  • Abseiling off the sheer cliffs of Victoria Falls Gorge
  • Micro-lighting over the Falls
  • River Safaris Quiet jet-propelled boats take you into remote parts of the upper Zambezi

Other Waterfalls

The Kalambo Falls are the second most significant waterfalls in Zambia. Located on the Kalambo River some 33 kilometers to the north-west of Mbala town in northern Zambia, the Kalambo Falls are nearly twice as high as the Victoria Falls and are the second highest uninterrupted falls on the African continent at 235 meters high.

Others are Ntumbachushi Falls in Luapula province, Lumangwe Falls, Ngonye Falls on the Zambezi, Chipempe Falls and the Chishimba Falls located in northern Zambia. These untapped waterfalls lie in areas of scenic landscapes providing potential investors with rich areas for development.

Under-explored opportunities

1. Eco-tourism and adventure activities

Eco-tourism is still under-exploited in Zambia. With abundant nature and wilderness, this segment of tourism offers exciting investment opportunities.

Opportunities exist in: safaris canoeing, game drives, nature walks, Bungee jumping, Micro light flights, Sport fishing, Rock-climbing and Orienteering.

2. Cultural tourism

Zambia’s population is predominantly rural with only about 40% of the population being in urban areas while the remaining 60% lives in the rural parts of the country. The population is quite diverse with a total of 73 languages. However the major and most commonly spoken languages are Bemba, Lozi, Nyanja, Tonga, Lunda and Luvale. Each is distinguished from the other by unique and colourful traditional customs and lifestyles. Of great significance among the local customs, and ‘must visits’ are the several cultural festivals (traditional ceremonies) held annually to celebrate various events and seasons. Of these, there are six major ones namely Kulamba, Kuomboka, Umutomboko, Likumbi Lya Mize, Nc’walaand Shimunenga ceremonies.

Nc’wala Ceremony:The Nc’wala ceremony, held by the Ngoni people of the Eastern Zambia every last Saturday of February, celebrates the harvest. The ceremony is marked by magnificent tribal dances and traditional beer drinking.

Kuomboka Ceremony:The glamorous and most famous Kuomboka ceremony is held by the Lozi people of Western Zambia annually in either March or April to mark the migration of the people from the flooded plains to higher ground. The move is prompted by the flooding arising from the rains.

Umutomoko Ceremony:The Umutomoko Ceremony of the Lunda speaking people of Luapula Province in north Zambia is held every last Saturday of July at chief Kazembe’s Palace.

Likumbi Lya Mize Ceremony:The Likumbi Lya Mize of the Luvale people of North-Western Zambia is held in August on the last Saturday of the month at the Mize palace of the Senior Chief  Ndungu in Zambezi Shimunenga Ceremony.

Investment opportunities in cultural tourism include:

  1. Packaging cultural ceremonies to local and foreign tourists
  2. Community/Ethno/Rural Tourism where tourists visit model villages to learn about the Zambian way of living
  3. Investments opportunities also exist in movie tourism. Tax concessions are provided to movie production companies and other film makers for shooting the movies on location in the country.

Investment Incentives In The Tourism Sector

The Zambia Development Agency Act No. 11 of 2006 offers a wide range of incentives in the form of tax incentives, non-fiscal incentives, exemptions & concessions for companies. The Act provides for investment thresholds that investors have to meet to qualify for fiscal and non-fiscal incentives.

For further information on Zambian tourism visit: www.zambiatourism.com