There has been a lot of emphasis placed on promoting international tourism in Zambia, with little attention given to domestic tourism, which is often relegated to being a buffer for the tourism industry’s off-seasons, when there are fewer international guests.
This is unfortunate in the wake of the recent turmoil that has rocked the industry. When international travelers were forced to stay home due to COVID-19 lockdowns, tour operators were forced to look to the fact that domestic tourism can play a key role in shaping the future, beyond just revitalizing the sector after COVID-19.
When inflow of international travelers decreased by up to 80 percent and bookings were cancelled due to global lockdown measures, Zambians were called upon to help the industry stay afloat. They responded to this distress call and took advantage of discounts and other promotional packages that some operators were offering. They also spread word of special offers and the need to visit various destinations to help people working in tourism keep their jobs.
For a country like Zambia, which attracts considerably fewer international tourists than countries in the region such as South Africa, Namibia and Zimbabwe, the need to promote domestic tourism cannot be overemphasized.
Having a stable base of local tourists would not only complement the tourism sector’s low share of international guests, it would also help cushion operators from severe impacts of losing international tourists due to unforeseen circumstances in the future. As mentioned earlier, when Zambians were called upon to visit the country’s tourist destinations in order to help the industry survive the impacts of COVID-19, many did. Imagine what can be possible if deliberate steps are taken to keep the momentum going?
Promoting domestic tourism would also have conservation benefits. Zambia’s conservation sector is intricately linked with tourism. Public resources allocated to conservation over the years have been low. According to a report by International Growth Centre (IGC) in Zambia, between 2010 and 2018, only an average of 0.6% of Zambia’s national budget was allocated to environmental and wildlife conservation. As a result, conservation activities have heavily depended on funding from donor organizations and tourism firms. Boosting domestic tourism will increase operators’ profits which would translate to increased donations to the conservation sector. For the conservation sector, increased funding would ensure that Zambia’s ecosystems and wildlife are protected.
The Government also recognizes the strategic role that domestic tourism can play, as it has been identified as one of Zambia’s promising prospects for economic growth and sustainable conservation. Earlier this year, Tourism and Arts Minister Ronald Chitotela called on tourism operators to partner with Government to reduce the cost of domestic tourism in Zambia after COVID-19. In a statement issued to the media by the Ministry Public Relations Officer Sakabilo Kalembwe in April, the Minister implored tourism operators to “see what they can give to the Zambian people so that domestic tourism can be boosted.”
Zambia is endowed with many beautiful landscapes and some incredible heritage sites. The country currently has 20 national parks that hold a great diversity of wildlife. This includes the world-renowned Kafue, Liuwa and South Luangwa national parks, which are counted among the greatest wildlife sanctuaries in the world. Combine this with diverse cultures and the many museums dotted across the country and you end up with something that can truly be appreciated by the local people.
It is worth noting that promoting domestic tourism cannot be achieved by the Government and tourism operators alone. We all have a part to play. As citizens of this beautiful and resource-rich country, we need to extend the “support your local team” slogan to the country’s tourism industry because supporting Zambia’s tourism is supporting local businesses and local communities. And while it is true that some operators may need to reduce their prices to cater for the local nature enthusiasts working with a tight budget, there are many establishments that are actually affordable. All that remains is for us to identify them and take advantage of their packages.
As global lockdown measures are slowly lifted and Zambia prepares to re-open its boarders for international tourists, players in the tourism sector should remember that while domestic tourists may not provide as much money as international tourists, the sustainability of the industry depends on Zambians buying into the idea that they can enjoy all that the country has to offer, without breaking the bank.
In other words, international tourism is what has sustained Zambia’s tourism sector up to this point, but domestic tourism is what will take it to the next level.
Zindaba Soko boss detained for disobeying court
FORMER Road Transport and Safety Agency chief executive officer Zindaba Soko has been detained for contempt of court after he travelled to Dubai for a job interview and missed a court session.
He missed a court session in a matter he and two others are accused of forging a passport and National Registration Card (NRC) bearing a dead person’s name.
About two weeks ago, Soko asked for permission to travel abroad but was advertised to attend court before leaving but the instruction was not obeyed.
Consequently, Lusaka magistrate Irene Wishimanga issued a bench warrant against Soko .
When the case resumed yesterday, Soko was brought to court under warrant and when asked why he missed court, he told the court that his lawyers misled him.
Soko told court that his lawyers told him that they would file a notice in court indicating his absentia when he travelled abroad.
This is in a case Soko, 45, a transport consultant of Old Lilayi Road, is jointly charged with Ibrahim Mbongo, 24, a student of Libala South, Kelvin Kisambara, a businessman, both of Tokyo Way.
They are charged with forgery, uttering false documents, being found in possession of property believed to have been stolen or unlawfully obtained.
Allegations are that between January 1 and 17 this year, with intent to defraud, the accused allegedly forged NRC255428/10/1 in the names John Tembo, who was reportedly dead, according the police.
The trio is further purported to show that the NRC was genuinely issued by the Department of National Registration, Passport and Citizenship, when infact not.
It is further alleged that Kisambara later fraudulently uttered the purportedly forged NRC to a banker at FNB bank in Chilenje.
(Mwebantu, Friday, 23rd February, 2024)
DJ in court after inserting manhood in four girls’ mouths
A 25-YEAR-OLD DISC Jockey (DJ) of Kanyama Township, Lusaka, has pleaded not guilty to the offence of unnatural offences after he allegedly sexually abused four girls by inserting his manhood in the mouth of four girls whom he invited to his house.
The victims are all under the age of 16.
The suspect, Kelvin Mutale, 25, has been charged with four counts of unnatural offences, an offence contrary to section 155(a) of the Penal Code.
It is alleged that on December 24, 2023, Mutale had carnal knowledge of four girls against the order of nature.
When he appeared in court yesterday, Mutale pleaded not guilty to all the four counts before Lusaka magistrate Crispin Hampungani for plea.
The accused then applied for bail pending trial, to which the State did not object.
Magistrate Hampungani granted Mutale bail in the sum of K20,000 and the money has to be paid in cash for the accused to be released on bond.
The court also asked the accused to bring two sureties.
The case has been adjourned to March 19 for trial.
(Mwebantu, Friday, 23rd February, 2024)
State to grab Charity Katanga’s buses
THE Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Gilbert Phiri has applied to have the 10 Higer buses worth K26million belonging to imprisoned former Deputy Inspector General of Police Charity Katanga forfeited to the State.
Further, the DPP wants forfeiture of K1.5million which is in the account for Chibeka Express Limited, the company which was operating the 10 Higer buses deemed to be proceeds of crime.
In a notice of motion filed by the DPP before the Lusaka Magistrate’s Court, the DPP says the properties should be seized because they are tainted.
The lawsuit comes after the Magistrate’s Court jailed Ms Katanga, Monday, after being found guilty of possession of the 10 buses deemed to be proceeds of crime, is the interested party.
In the DPPs documents, the Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC),
chief investigations officer Ewdin Mwanza submits that Ms Katanga Monday, February, 19, Ms Katanga was tried and convicted of the offence of possession of suspected proceeds of crime.
Mr Mwanza submits that court record will show that the former senior police officer’s conviction is based on her being found in possession of 10 higer buses whose registration numbers are; BAF 5118 ZM, BAF 5119 ZM, BAG 8558 ZM, BAG 8559 ZM, BAG 8733 ZM, BAJ 2476 ZM, BAJ 2590 ZM, BAJ 2919 ZM, BAV 2931, BAL 9126 ZM, all worth K26,282,770.
Mr Mwanza submits that the record will show that I also seized K1,55,005.15 in Chibeka Express Limited account number 9130000699156 Stanbic bank Ndola main branch which received these funds from the operations of the 10 higer buses found by this honourable court to be proceeds of crime.
He adds that the matter is a proper one in which the court can order that the buses and money in the account be forfeited to the State for being proceeds of crime.
The State prays that this court orders that the properties be forfeited to the State and paid into the government’s consolidated fund held at Central Bank.
(Mwebantu, Thursday, 22nd February, 2024