Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Tourism can be a job creation catalyst in Zambia


A man displays his catch from Kabompo River
A man displays his catch from Kabompo River

By J.Sakala
The tourism board or ministry should deliberately attach some of its employees on learning mission to Nations which have succeeded in making tourism their main stem of the economy.Countries like Cuba,Thailand,Brazil,Gambia etc

Zambia’s biggest tourist attraction is the Sun.

All our seasons have conducive weather and this is our biggest asset as people in lands that are devoid of good weather will do anything to get to the Sun.We need to market the sun.

We have the rivers,the lakes,natural caves,national game parks,Victoria falls,traditional ceremonies etc.We need to invest in water sports,looking at every activity the tourist would enjoy with our Rivers.We need to attract tangible partnerships including government partnerships with multi national companies to galvanise tourism.

The Zambian People

Our people are another treasured asset to tourism in Zambia.We are some of the most friendliest people on earth.Being amongst Zambians is an experience one treasures for life.A visit to a typical Zambian village for a European is a tourist attraction in itself and they would pay for it.

Why haven’t we developed the tourism sector to the level that it becomes one of the major employers in the country?

Zambia an Expensive Destination

Some of the reasons are that today Zambia still ranks as one of the most expensive places to travel to and visit compared to other parts of the world.We have disjointed arrangements for tourists.Even with new airlines coming on board:Emirates,KLM etc it is still expensive and you must be very rich to consider Zambia as your holiday destination from Europe.

The more people visit the country the better,we must maximise on the numbers visiting.For example for the average cost of £700 for a return ticket to Zambia from Europe one would go on a 7-10 days all inclusive holiday to the Caribbean ,Thailand,America or other European countries.

Why we aren’t Winning

We need to look at what makes the Zambian tourism so expensive even though it could be the destination of a life time.The flight to the Caribbean will take you the same hours as to Zambia,so why the difference?

Tourism all over the world is package advertised.Road show advertising and by word of mouth is good but does not always reach a wider scale of people.Hence there is need for our Government to engage travel agents in Europe,America,Australia etc and package tourism.

File: Assorted Zambian crafts for sale at the Lusaka Sunday Market

For example if one buys a ticket for K10,000,000 it should enable them to get a flight to Zambia,airport transfer,stay at a hotel or lodge for a specific period of time.Could be Bed and Breakfast,half board or all inclusive depending on pricing.

The tourist should have activities lined up for the period of stay on a day today basis which they could pay from their pocket allowing in foreign exchange.Packaging involves talking to all people involved eg airlines,hotels or lodges,transporters,farmers etc

Unless we package tourism it will not enhance job creation.It will not blossom.We need to co-ordinate tourism.Its a money spinning industry that can surpass any industry in Zambia and can be an answer to the current un employment problem.

Many a Tourist dislike hidden costs-surprise costs.A tourist would like to pay for a package and budget for an amount that they can spend without many surprises.

A well packaged tourism will grow the other sectors of our economy as well,farming will grow as they will be great demand for farm produce in hotels and guest houses.The transport sector will grow,crafts demand etc Tourism can definitely galvanise the economy all round.

A lesson from Cuba

Cuba after the fall of communism in Russia which was their major source of income through trade made a bold decision to boost tourism.Fidel Castro went into partnership with the Canadian companies to boost tourism.They built hotels,lodges and brought in Transtour buses in abundance.They went flat out to market their tourism all over the world.Today Cuba can boast of the Tourist industry employing 45 % of its people.Being a communist country it has opened up other industries as well, like agriculture as more produce has got to be produced to feed the industry.Teachers and other Professionals are being engaged as tour guides for tourists.If we are serious about tourism we need to learn the lessons from Cuba.

What we need to do

  1. We need to have our own airline.There have been pronouncements of bringing back a national airline.If we are following through our pronouncement then we are on the right path.A national airline is an asset in packaging tourism.
  2. We need to sort out our road network to be efficient and safe.Tourists like safe and efficient roads.If we did sort out our rail line to a high standard that travel is quick,we would enhance our capacity.
  3. These are some of the things we need to table with our chinese partners,sort out our ancient railways.
    I must say there is so much to see in Zambia than in Cuba and most of these other countries.If we did the right things the tourism sector would employ half the population of Zambia.
  4. Ever imagine the disused mines and even the active copper mines being a tourism magnet?The state house tunnels that were exposed in Chiluba era?The beaches in Samfya,Kasaba Bay?Our traditional ceremonies,National Parks etc Zambia is a Tourist gem.
  5. We need to invest so much in that which gives us the identity as Zambians and we need to be proud of being Zambian.Tourists enjoy visiting a country whose people are so proud.
  6. We need to promote our culture.Small things that we think do not matter are the things that the tourist would like to see.Our crafts,our food etc Hey need I not say we need a Chipolopolo museum at Patrick Levy Mwanawasa stadium in Ndola and a FAZ shop?its a tourist attraction as well.
  7. We must make it a point that we promote what is Zambian when tourists come.A Zambian cuisine,a Zambian Beer,Maheu etc
  8. Orderliness is very very important if we have to promote tourism.We also need to conform to the culture of the people we invite.Honest,punctuality,politeness etc these are the ingredients of tourism.Tourism is self Marketing,the people that come will tell others.
    We need to learn the lessons and as we look around for what can build our economy I put my finger on tourism.


  1. Nice summary. I put my money on tourism/culture/arts too but it is infrastructure dependant as a growth industry, so with any luck enough of the right minded people come together to bring support plans in to fruition. 

    • If you know the writer to be a boy settle your petty issues with him TBAS you seem to have a bone to chew with him personally.Don’t distract objectivity.

    • Tekanyeni you seem to have a problem with A PHIRI ANABWELA. The person in the picture is a boy and NOT a man – simple. And you want to argue this? sick.

    • K10,000,000 is a substantial amount.One can travel from Zambia to spain for a weeks holiday all paid for hotel.Hello???thus equivalent to £1250 not a small amount.Thus what makes it work volume,turn over.

  2. nice piece of analysis indeed. my observation is and has always been that, we have wrong people in this field. what is chitanfya’s role in promoting zambia’s culture when, not so long ago, they invited lupupa…. whateve,r from congo DR to come and promote zambia’s culture at the expense of our own musicians. talk of promoting your culture my foot!

    • Lol. It’s just the effect of a generation that told Zambian musicians they were only Zambian if they played rhumba. Swiftly followed by telling them they are only relevant if they only sing in a local language. Now we’re dealing with computer musicians who find it hard to understand that generic sampled backing tracks will not export our best talent to the top stages. There is hope for both the next generation and those who are excluded from the current scene or open minded. Neither is tainted by bad advice :)

  3. #2 If you know the writer to be a boy settle your case with him.This is something to think about in terms of pushing our nation forward.Lets be objective TBAS.

  4. I reamember the other time i said most of developed countries across the world have put arts and cultural products on the front line of econmical development because these are the home tourism sector. i sited Kenya as an example where most of those products that are in the above picture are comming from. its almost impossible to see a zambian cultural product outside the country but look at the tourism income for Kenya on yearly basis. When it comes to insulting one another is the order of the day. just look how many bloggers have commented on this story, very few. from there you can know the direction of the country.

    • If it is any consolation, there is a difference between Zambia online and the desires of people on the ground who are prepared to physically get involved if given the opportunity. Investment in this arena takes the jobs to even the most remote spots. We have a wealth of untapped potential if we look at our culture/arts through new eyes as a viable commercial revenue generator. As to whether the right people are in a position to change things… we have to bypass that hurdle in a very creative but inclusive manner :)

  5. Bring back retention and recruitment allowance on our payslips otherwise u will never have a vote from all graduates civil servants in 2016. Take this warning very seriously bwana PF Government!


    • @ Peter – Snap! Slow on my phone but just caught this. To be fair they have figured out how to make an easy buck so props to them for trying. However, quality of production, performance and distribution is weak alongside the administration of music as an industry. Music as a business is not what will help tourism alone though, it is actually music as a cultural and performance art form which can be developed beyond the current industry’s short sighted view and find a much better footing internationally. There’s room for variety as you point out.


  8. We have lots of good to show the world, but we need to learn even from our neighbours. Send a few people to see how Swakopmund is managed on the coast in Namibia or Cape Town in SA. These places attract tourists from around the world because of what they continue to do to improve places. We can transform Livingstone, Samfya, Limulunga, Itezhi Tezhi and other places

  9. If we can focus on things that can change the nation and not petty squabbling.To boost tourism a bold decision has to be made by the people in Government.Starting with the President.He has got to spear head the tourism revolution through his cabinet.Just been reading on Cuba as highlighted by the writer;yes it took the boldness of Fidel Castro or they were done.If there is an influx of tourists jobs will be creates i agree with the article.Yes lets swallow our pride and send our people to go and learn from other countries it will make us better.Comparing notes is better.”umwana shenda atasha banyina ukunaya”Great article.Makes a difference from the insulting articles and politics all the time.Zambians lets talk more economic developmental ideas than politicking.

  10. Good article I beg to differ with the author on his proposal for “bringing back a national airline”…people need to wake up from their slumber; the airline sector is very expensive venture 7/10 airlines fail within the first 6 months of launch; this is a high expenditure industry and there is no better place to waste taxpayer’s money than in this sector. Zambia Airways is gone as it was unprofitable and get over it. 
    The best the gov’t can do is formulate pro-business policies that will encourage these foreign airlines to base their operations in Lusaka hence increase flights and creating a competitive atmosphere that we benefit us via reduced ticket fares & also encourage local airlines to increase flights to regional airports which also need upgrading or constructing. 

  11. The author should have also highlighted the ever increasing airport charges imposed on travellers both local and foreign which are too high and discourages tourists to Zambia when compared to other tourist destinations.

  12. In my plan it is the people that are our greatest asset and really should be at the forefront of our ad campaigns. The dogged determination to continue to market Zambia without people is one we need to get past. A humorous campaign depicting how far out of his or her way a Zambian would go for a visitor can include a trip past landmarks, resorts and activities without missing a beat and would do more to engage than the ubiquitous colonial styled approach. There’s nothing wrong with showing people exist outside the standard village, tribal or park ranger shot. Sell Zambia.

  13. It is potentially more effective to engage people across the world in the rebranding through a creative enterprise than sit in a small office afraid to rock the boat. A good example how well it can work is if you have time to look up the Phillipines and what they did to attract their own abroad and use creative skills to drum up an online pitch that increased their visitors by spreading attention through alternative networks. Mind you there were a few crazies who spoofed it but nothing detrimental to the project.

  14. And as a final thought, America was forced to globally market itself this year. Now if there is a nation that has enough media imagery and celebrities to bring to the table then this is it. The reasons are multiple. You can all pretty much figure them out but key was their admission that people attracted to other destinations. Tourism to Africa and Asia on the other hand was growing and rapidly at that. It’s a competitive arena where new attractions win new business. Quality. Quality. Quality. We can get there.

  15. You know thus considerably in the case of this topic, made me for my part consider it from so many numerous angles. Its like men and women don’t seem to be interested unless it’s something to do with Woman gaga! Your personal stuffs nice. All the time care for it up!

  16. This is a great article. One major downside is that we have left people without proper experience to spearhead the tourism campaign; politicians that preach more rhetoric than action. I personally feel that politicians in government have not done enough to maximize the tourism campaign. Given an opportunity, persons like Josephine Pope with a proven and traceable record of successfully marketing her company (Robin Pope Safaris) and selling Zambia to the world are the right people to do the job. She has global connections and knows all the leads and government needs to involve her without frustrating her efforts.

    • Good point! The sunset image of the couple seated at a table in the river was an immediate attention grabber and back then a break from the norm. They were the first to truly make use of the web and creatively made their site a flippable magazine.

  17. The Government can sponsor Zambians to partner with foreigners and form Agencies to market and package tourism abroad.Zambian Agencies in Australia,Engand,USA etc

  18. I agree with #12 TEKANYENI
    When Zambia started selling itself on tourism president Chiluba and his Minister, just like Mwanawasa were in the forefrant. That is you saw the lady minister was even honoured. This is a very good article, I will read through again, keep it up my friend.

  19. I agree with #12 TEKANYENI
    When Zambia started selling itself on tourism president Chiluba and his Minister, just like Mwanawasa were in the forefrant. That is why you saw the lady minister, was even honoured. This is a very good article, I will read through again, keep it up my friend.

  20. But do not forget the history where this started from. The previous govt has done a lot on tourism and also predicted that tourism will create more jobs. So, if this govt honours what the plan was, then we will be happy. They should not feel shy to follow in the steps of MMD to do a good job, if it was good do it for mother Zambia. Amen.

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