Tourism sector in Zambia facing big challenges
The latest Zambia International Tourism Expo held in Lusaka could have been overwhelmed with troubles beyond the control of the organizers, however delivered a convincing clarion call to this Southern African country's tourism community which a robust, united front is required if lasting development is to happen.
A regrettable last-minute heavy downpour on the opening day put an end to the ideas of having the expo outdoors at the Mulungushi Conference Centre in what must have been the nice and cozy autumn sun, compelling exhibitors to get cover in the center’s fairly out dated and worn out interior and severely delaying the start of the yearly event that was co-hosted by Zambian Tourism Board - ZTB as well as conference organizers Afri-cast.
The theme of the expo being domestic tourism, the expo was able to limp to some more consolidated as well as much organized day two, that was open to the general public and that coincided with festivities for the 50th independence anniversary of Zambia.
Tourism within Zambia is mainly based on the two support beams of eco-tourism or safari as well as business tourism, having destinations like Kafue national parks, the Lower Zambezi as well as South Luangwa dominating the commercial centers in Lusaka along with the rich belt from which Copper is mined generating the majority of business. In addition Livingstone together with the Victoria Falls, still promoted (or even over promoted) as the gem in the tourism crown of Zambia and also the country has an impressive variety of destinations for travelers on business or simply having leisure time.
On the other hand, what Zambia doesn't have is any kind of leadership within the tourism sector, and a shocking insufficient tourism "nous" amid those responsible for marketing this destination and developing the economic contribution of tourism. At the moment having the 7th tourism minister in just six years, the profile of tourism is basically being utilized as a political soccer by the government that is entirely unaware of the opportunity the sector has and exactly how wise to take advantage of that potential. And while the hierarchy of Zambian Tourism Board are friendly, enjoyable fellows with a great deal of experience amongst them, they continue to demonstrate deficiencies in perception of what the worldwide, plus local tourist requires and expects with regards to tourism offerings plus a broad understanding of the valuable tourism offerings that this country has and how they have to be optimized.
Just as the situation with the most of national plus provincial tourism companies, the opportunity of greatness is there, however becomes lost in interpretation and caught up by political gerrymandering as well as small bureaucracy. The outcome is a private sector bereft of any communication and an "each man for themselves" attitude where people that have the very best promotional budget as well as loudest voices have a tendency to get the biggest share of the tourism market.
In a nutshell, it's time that Zambia realizes that so as to compete successfully on the tourism international stage it should have an obvious plus achievable goal as well as visionary leaders supported by a lively, committed and also entirely uniform private sector.