Ministry of Tourism and Arts Permanent Secretary Mr Patrick Lungu has implored Zambians in the Diaspora to invest in the tourism sector, stating that the sector has huge potential to contribute to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and create jobs.
And Zambia’s High Commissioner to the United Kingdom His Excellency Lieutenant General Paul Mihova (Rtd) said tourism has been identified by the government as one of the top economic sectors on the development agenda.
Meanwhile Department of National Parks and Wildlife Director, Dr Chuma Simukonda said tourism can become an important driver of socio-economic growth over the next decade.
Speaking when he addressed Zambians in the Diaspora during a virtual town hall meeting on Investment in Zambia’s tourism sector, a diaspora perspective, organised by the Zambia High Commission UK in partnership with Zambians Together, Zambian Business Club CIC and the ZamOxbridge, Mr Lungu said there is need for Zambians in the diaspora to take advantage of investment opportunities by investing in the booming tourism sector.
“To the Zambians in the diaspora, I implore you to take advantage of these opportunities. You are better placed to acquire land and set up viable business enterprises. The expertise, knowledge and linkages you have gained put you in good stead to support the development of the tourism sector,” he said.
Mr Lungu said Government was committed to ensuring that the policy and the regulatory environment favours both domestic and foreign investments.
“Deliberate efforts are being made to promote partnerships that create a win-win situation for the investor, the government and the communities around. Recently, the Government announced an economic bailout package to the tune of K8 billion or USD$439 million to support recovery and mitigation measures through the 2021national budget. This is with a view to mitigating the impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic,” he said.
Mr Lungu added that Government was counting on Zambians in the diaspora to set up good infrastructures that would make the hospitality industry attractive.
“Zambia is increasingly becoming a centre for a meeting, conferences and events. It is, therefore, a perfect place to invest in hotel establishments, conference facilities and other support amenities,” he said.
The Permanent Secretary explained that Government has come up with a deliberate policy to upgrade infrastructure like airports and build new roads to open opportunities for investment. “Further to this, the government is also going the smart and digital route through Smart Zambia. We have developed an e-licencing platform that has now made it easy for anyone to register their tourism business online, no matter where they are”.
And the High Commissioner said the United Kingdom remains one of Zambia’s most important source markets.
“Aside from the United Kingdom being an important tourist generating market, the role of the diaspora in stimulating tourism traffic to their home country from the United Kingdom cannot be ignored. The role of being active players in the tourism industry in our home country can further enhance growth in the sector and speaks to one of the aspects of the recently launched diaspora policy, he said.
Meanwhile, Dr Simukonda said national parks and 14 areas have been identified as potential tourism development zones that are open for investment.
The event was attended by over 120 participants. The Permanent Secretary was joined by other speakers from Zambia Tourism Agency, (ZTA), Zambia Development Agency (ZDA), Zambia Airports Corporation Limited, Department of National Parks and Wildlife services (DNPWS), Tourism Council of Zambia (TCZ) and Destination Luapula.
The panellist discussed among other things, E-licensing, Incentives in the sector, Opportunities for Investment in Zambia’s National Park and Game Management areas, Small Medium Enterprises capacity building and Financing through Prospero. Focus was on Luapula and Livingstone and the private sector experience.