Ms. Kapata said tourism was one of the world’s leading employment sectors as it alleviates poverty and drive inclusive development.
“As a nation, we need to work together to maximize the immense potential of tourism to drive inclusive economic growth, protect the environment, promote sustainable development and a life of dignity for all our citizens and humankind,” she said.
Ms. Kapata said this in Livingstone today during the commemoration of World Tourism Day held under the theme, ‘One billion tourists, one billion opportunities’.
She said Zambia has seen a steady increase in tourist arrivals from 812, 000 in 2008 to 920,000 in 2011.
“By 2016, Zambia’s tourist arrivals are forecasted to reach the one million mark,” she said.
Ms. Kapata further said the steady increase of tourist arrivals has seen a proliferation of hotel establishments for the hospitality industry, which increased from 1,000 in 2010 to 1,120 in 2012.
“The holding capacity of the hotel establishments has also increased from 19, 000 bed spaces in 2010 to 22, 000 in 2012,” she said.
Meanwhile, the tourism sector employed 44, 292 people in 2012 from 20, 000 in 2011. The sector is forecast to create 300, 000 more jobs by 2016.
Earlier, Southern Province Minister Nathaniel Mubukwanu called for the promotion of domestic tourism.