The Livingstone Tourism Association has insisted that the Zambia is still far behind in preparations for the forthcoming UNWTO general assembly.
Last Friday, Tourism and Arts Minister Sylvia Masebo told Parliament that Zambia is on course in preparations to co-hosting the biggest tourism indaba in the world slated for August next year.
But Livingstone Tourism Association Chairman Kingsley Lilamono maintained that Zambia still has a long way to go to prepare for the general assembly.
Mr. Lilamono attributed the delays in preparations to a lack of an autonomous local organising committee with executive powers.
“We do have a big challenge as far as preparations are concerned, from the outside, it appears we do have a local organizing committee but that is not the case. There I nothing happening on the ground,” Mr. Lilamono said.
He said roads are still in a deplorable state in Livingstone while the demolition of the filthy Zimbabwe market is still pending.
“The truth is that our friends in Zimbabwe have made significant progress and we don’t seem to be moving at all. The only progress we have recorded is the modernisation of the Harry Mwaanga International Airport.”
And Mr. Lilamono has stated that Southern Province Permanent Secretary Dr. Chileshe Mulenga’s “Know it all” altitude is negatively preparations for the general assembly.
“We worked very well with Minister Lubinda when he was in charge of Foreign Affairs and Tourism, we all worked very well with other past PS’s for Southern Province over the general assembly but since the coming in of Dr. Mulenga, things have not moved.”
“The PS is overlooking input from the private sector and undermine our efforts, we worked on the bid document for the general assembly and we know what it takes but the PS has this know it all altitude which is not helpful,” Mr. Lilamono added.
He has advised government to authorize the private sector in Livingstone to take the lead of the preparations for the general assembly.
He said Cabinet Office should quickly appoint a local organising committee spearheaded by the private sector in Livingstone which should be responsible for handling preparations for the grand event.
Over 2,000 delegates are expected to attend the general assembly to be hosted by Zimbabwe’s Victoria Falls town and Zambia’s Livingstone.