Call for extensive marketing of Zambia’s tourism
By KENNEDY MUPESENI -
The Zambia Tourism Board (ZTB) should work closely with Government to carry out an extensive marketing strategy of tourist sites locally and abroad, if the country is to compete favourably with neighbouring countries such as Zimbabwe.
According to recent research findings released by the Policy Monitoring and Research Centre (PMRC) last week, Zimbabwe tourism contribution to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was 8.6 per cent compared to Zambia which contributes 2.3 to the country’s GDP.
The research revealed that by comparison, tourism in Zimbabwe generates about US$800 million accounting for 8.6 per cent compared to Zambia’s US$200 million representing 2.3 per cent.
It further revealed that both Zambia and Zimbabwe were endowed with wildlife, game parks, freshwater bodies and rich cultural heritage but that the performance in the respective tourism sectors varies considerably.
“With good marketing and infrastructure in place, the tourism sector can achieve its potential of US$ 700 million to the GDP and even surpass that of Zimbabwe,” states the research findings.
The report has recommended that Zambia should increase the budgetary allocation to the tourism sector in order to address some of the major impediments such as lack of infrastructure at most tourism sites and lack of effective marketing of tourism sites the country was endowed with.
The report says this would mean that Government would have an additional US$500 million per year to spend on infrastructure development.
It states that this could help the country in times of lower prices for copper and other minerals.
The expansion of the tourism industry will increase international tourist arrivals and ultimately improve earnings.
The research has further revealed that the number of international tourism arrivals between 2011 and 2012 for Zambia were 906,417, while those of Zimbabwe were 2,500,000.
In terms of tourism contribution to employment, the report highlighted that the number of people employed in the tourism sector in Zambia stands at 31,900, while Zimbabwe employed 93,000 people.