By NDUBI MVULA -
ZAMBIA Tourism Agency (ZTA) chief executive officer Felix Chaila says for Zambia to market its tourism to the whole world, the media has to come on board as it holds a pivotal role in the sector.
Mr Chaila said this when he launched the Media Tourism Master Class which he believes will help the Agency develop a cadre of journalists that would specialise in reporting on the sector.
“The media must always play its significant role in the marketing of tourism to the outside world as well as at local level. Our desire is to ensure that this Media Master Class touches you all,” he said.
Mr Chaila said his agency decided to come up with the class to create a lasting relationship with the media.
He said the idea for a Media Tourism Master Class was to effectively market the sector and articulate issues well.
Mr Chaila was speaking in Lusaka yesterday when he officially opened the two-day Media Tourism Master Class workshop at Radisson Blu Hotel.
Mr Chaila said tourism on the world map had been elevated to second position from the chemical industry in a similar manner that the Zambian Government had re-classified the sector as second from agriculture.
He said this was a plus and commended President Edgar Lungu for upgrading the sector.
Mr Chaila said it was for this reason that the agency decided to have the media on board.
“The ZTA has taken a deliberate effort to engage and form strong bonds with the media for purposes of enhancing our relationship. Media are playing an important role in the growth and development and promotion by creating awareness and understanding to cater for the needs and requirements of domestic and international tourists,” Mr Chaila said.
He said every traveller was a potential tourist, be it local or foreign, and it depended upon the campaign by the media to tap into the potential and convert it into actual clients.
Mr Chaila said the role of the agency was not to develop tourism centres but to market the tourism sites dotted around the country.
He encouraged journalists to develop interest in various sectors of tourism such as bird watching; safari walks and drives which stood out as the best in the world.
Mr Chaila also said there was a new policy shift by the Government in the sector from the previous stand of Government-led to private sector-driven.
Mr Chaila, however, noted that the agency faced challenges in staffing which was supposed to be 55 but there was only 22 to cover the country.