Last month, Opposition Leader Michael Sata was elected as Zambia’s next President. This past Friday, he opened Parliament and presented his Government’s plans and platforms. The Tourism Department has moved from the Ministry of Tourism, Environment, and Natural Resources (MTENR) and is now merged with the new Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. President Sata highlighted the Tourism Sector in his speech as a priority for the Zambian Economy.
He noted that “the tourism industry in its present state has failed to make any meaningful contribution to Zambia’s economic development due to poor infrastructure, un-economic routes, poor marketing of Zambia as a tourist destination of choice and unstable exchange rates.”
The following are his remarks about Tourism:
“Let me take this opportunity to address this august house on yet another important sector in our economic development. A tourism industry based on a well-designed government policy and programme can be an important driving force in boosting our economy.
It can contribute to the increase in the gdp per capita within a short period of time. It can also contribute to the creation of employment opportunities for our people. However, the tourism industry in its present state has failed to make any meaningful contribution to Zambia’s economic development due to poor infrastructure, un-economic routes, poor marketing of zambia as a tourist destination of choice and unstable exchange rates.
Consequently, Zambia is one of the most expensive and least known destinations for visiting tourists in the southern African region.
In order for us to preserve our wildlife for tourism, we must also put measures in place to control the problem of human-animal conflict in game management areas which has led to increased levels of hunger and poverty amongst our people.
My government, in recognition of this important industry will ensure that growth in resource-based tourism is environmentally sustainable and hence preserved for our future generations.
We shall without delay introduce policies to make investment in the sector attractive and profitable to both local and foreign investment.
We shall promote well targetted government investment in infrastructure development and hence open up new tourism sites in the country.
It is the desire of my government to collaborate with the private sector so as to enhance the effective marketing of the sector locally and internationally.
In this regard we shall enhance the status of the City of Livingstone as a tourist capital by relocating the provincial capital for the Southern Province from Livingstone to Choma.
The Honourable Minister of Information and Tourism must ensure that this programme is completed in 24 months time.
In concluding my address to this august house, I would like to say to our people, that we shall use the mandate which they gave to me and the Patriotic Front, to transform Zambia into a viable economy which will in turn give dignity to our people in their social and economic areas of life.
We shall keep our doors open to new ideas from citizens and stakeholders at large.