THE Zambia Tourism Agency (ZTA) has called for speedy construction of a large capacity convention centre in Livingstone to meet the increasing demand for local and international conferences in Zambia’s Tourist Capital.
Zambia Institute of Chartered Accountants (ZICA) is in the process of constructing a state-of-the-art Convention Centre in Livingstone at a cost of about US$ 300 million while the Zambian Government is also planning to set up a Convention centre in the City.
ZTA Managing Director Felix Chaila said there was urgent need to set up a large capacity Convention Centre in Livingstone in view of the increasing demand for local and international conferences.
Mr Chaila was speaking in interview in Livingstone on the sidelines of the ongoing third Livingstone International Arts and Cultural Festival (LICAF) for 2016.
“Most of these big conferences that are taking place in Lusaka could have come in Livingstone if there was a big convention centre.
“It is easier to market Livingstone to host conferences but unfortunately there is no big conference here. The private sector and the Government should quickly set up a convention centre in Livingstone,” Mr Chaila said.
In 2013 during the 20th session of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) General Assembly in Livingstone, the gathering was held in a marquee due to the absence of large conference facilities or a convention centre in the tourist capital.
Mr Chaila, who was impressed that most hotels and lodges were fully booked during the LICAF 2016 and Easter Period, said there was need for all stakeholders to create more activities in Livingstone to enable guests stay longer.
He said LICAF should be supplemented wish a sports stadium and other infrastructures in Livingstone to attract more tourists.
“We must be innovative to keep the lodges and hotels busy throughout the event and not one off events.
“There is no reason why Livingstone should not have a motor cross circuit.
Livingstone Golf Club should be active and made a world class golf club to attract golf circuit. These are people with money like in Dubai and in North America and in Namibia. Livingstone has so bush and everyone would like to bring a circuit to a destination that is near Victoria Falls,” Mr Chaila said.
The 2016 LICAF, which is being held from March 25 and March 26, is aimed at promoting increased arrivals of both local and international tourists.
About 10 countries worldwide and representatives from 10 provinces of Zambia are attending the event.
According to the official programme, Maramba Cultural Village was expected to host the cultural and food cuisine panorama yesterday from 14: 00 hours to 22: 00 hours where Tourism and Arts Minister Jean Kapata was expected to launch the event.
AVANI Victoria Falls Hotel was expected also to host a gala night on the same night from 17: 00 hours to 23: 00 hours.
On Saturday, there will be a Street Carnival from Villa Grounds to various Townships of Livingstone where arts and cultural activities will be showcased by local and international artists while Livingstone Golf Club will host a pop festival from 17:3 0 hours until late.
Further, there will be daily side events at the Livingstone Art Gallery from 08: 00 hours to 17: 00 hours and at the Livingstone Museums from 09: 00 hours to 16: 00 hours.
Renowned Musicians Oliver Mtukuzi from Zimbabwe and Amayenge Band form Zambia will be among several other local and international artists to provide music during the festival.