Zambia and South Africa have agreed to work together to promote regional tourism.
Tourism and Arts Permanent Secretary, Steven Mwansa, told a meeting of Zambian and South African Civic Authority leaders at the Tourist Junction Building in Durban in May, that Zambia does not consider South Africa as a threat but as a ‘big brother’ with whom the country shares strong political, historical and cultural ties.
Meanwhile, Mr. Mwansa has implored KwaZulu-Natal to support Zambia’s efforts to have the Yellow Fever vaccination requirement (for travelers to and from Zambia) withdrawn, adding that this has proved to be the biggest barrier to tourist inflows into Zambia. The Permanent Secretary acknowledged that Yellow Fever was a Ministry of Health issue but that its impact on the tourism industry required his Ministry to play a role.
Mr. Mwansa thanked KwaZulu-Natal for sharing their Tourism Master Plan with Zambia and for the warm hospitality accorded to the Zambian delegation. He said the Zambian Ministry of Tourism and Arts was also in the process of creating a Tourism Master Plan of its own and that the KwaZulu-Natal experience will provide some valuable insights.
And Chief Executive Officer for Tourism KwaZulu-Natal, Ndambo Khoza said there was need for African countries to embark on regional marketing saying the era of ‘competition’ should be replaced by ‘collaboration’.
Mr. Khoza said Zambia had a lot to offer in terms of tourism and assured his counterparts that his administration will play its part in bringing more tourists to Zambia.
Mr. Khoza noted that Zambia and South Africa had very strong business relations with a number of Durban-based companies having a firm presence in Zambia.
He called upon Zambia to be more aggressive in the South African market.
The Zambia Tourism Board sees local authorities as critical partners especially in the promotion of Domestic Tourism and the bench marking trip is one of the capacity building initiatives that the board has embarked on to steer tourism growth.
The team that participated in the bench marking tour included Mayors, town Clerks, and Planning Directors from Ndola, Kitwe, Solwezi and Livingstone City Councils.
Others were Permanent Secretary for Luapula Chanda Kasolo, Permanent Secretary N/Western Province Amos Malupenga, Permanent Secretary at Cabinet Office Anne Sinyangwe, and Tourism and Arts Permanent Secretary Steven Mwansa who was Team Leader.
The Zambia Tourism Board was represented by its Board Vice –Chairperson Mable Mung`omba and Managing Director Felix Chaila while the Zambian High Commission in Pretoria has sent First Secretary in charge of Tourism Ms. Patricia Musopelo-Muyamwa.
The bench marking tour of Kwazulu-Natal was organised by the Zambia Tourism Board as part of its capacity building and lobbying strategy.
And Government praised the Zambia Tourism Board for initiating a tourism development initiative for Zambian Civic Authorities.
Speaking at the start of the bench marking tour of KwaZulu-Natal, Mr. Mwansa said the initiative by Zambia Tourism Board deserved commendation as it afforded Zambian local authorities a rare opportunity to learn first-hand from their South African counterparts.
Mr. Mwansa said the Zambia Tourism Board programs for City Fathers had added value to Zambia’s participation at the 2014 Indaba Tourism Fair.
Speaking at the same occasion, Mr. Kasolo said local authorities should look at Tourism as a serious business requiring well-thought-out business plans and strategies. Mr. Kasolo said there was no need to ‘re-invent the wheel’ when Zambia can learn from success stories in tourism like South Africa. The Permanent Secretary added that Zambia had what it took to challenge South Africa to ‘the most sought after destination in Africa’ title but added that this required concerted efforts from all stake holders
Meanwhile Mr. Malupenga said time had come for Zambia to go beyond the ‘Sleeping Giant’ status by ensuring that Zambia’s tourism potential was fully tapped. He urged the local authorities to carefully study the Kwazulu-Natal tourism model in order to determine what works and what doesn’t.
Issued by: Caristo Chitamfya
PR and Media Manager- Zambia Tourism Board