Transforming Livingstone into a premier conferencing centre is a step in the right direction

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President Lungu in Livingstone
FILE: President Lungu in Livingstone

GOVERNMENT’s intentions of transforming Livingstone into a premier conferencing centre in Southern Africa next year is a step in the right direction in terms of increasing tourist arrivals to Zambia’s Tourist Capital, Zambia Tourism Agency (ZTA) managing director Felix Chaila has said.

In his address to National Assembly on Friday during the presentation of the 2017 Budget, Finance Minister Felix Mutati said the Government would next year transform Livingstone into a premier conferencing centre in Southern Africa to leverage on the infrastructure developments that had been undertaken.

Speaking in an interview yesterday, Mr Chaila said Livingstone was an attractive destination but it lacked adequate conference facilities and hence the move by the Government would increase tourist arrivals.

“This is a welcome move because Livingstone is already an attractive destination and conferences will be an added incentive.

“Tourists are looking for destinations that have a diverse product range including conferences,” Mr Chaila said.

He said the move was also in line with the growing global trend of promoting the Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions (MICE) industry.

The MICE industry is currently one of the fastest growing segments of the tourism base world over as it mainly attracted local tourists.

Globally, the MICE segment carters for about 400, 000 events annually across the globe with a total of about US$ 280 billion out of which about 14, 000 are meetings, conferences, conventions and congresses involving professional associations, corporate bodies, religious groups and inter-governmental bodies.

Most tourism enterprises are now investing in conference rooms to capture this business segment which assures high room occupancy rates and increased consumption of food and beverages among others.

Mr Chaila said there was need to ensure that people who travel to Livingstone to view the Victoria Falls also had an opportunity to enjoy other facilities such as resorts and conferences.

He the Kavango-Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area (KAZA TFCA) region, which include five Southern African Countries including Zambia, had also identified MICE as one of the industries which could grow the tourism sector.

“During the 20th session of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) General Assembly, Zambia had to partner with Zimbabwe to host the event because we did not have inadequate conference facilities in Livingstone and Victoria Falls Town.

“We also have been struggling to host large groups of tourists because of the same challenge and so the move by the Government will boost the sector,” Mr Chaila said.

Last week, a high powered delegation comprising of five Cabinet Ministers met China Africa Cotton which is planning to invest US$ 50 million to construct a world-class hotel and a sky wheel with a 5, 000 capacity conference facility in the Victoria Falls area of Livingstone.

9 COMMENTS

  1. # Livingstone

    Really Guys!!! 50$ ain’t money..”world class hotel and a sky wheel with a 5,000 capacity conference facility in the Victoria falls area of livingstone” that’s a joke!

    The world is growing and only serious investors must be entertained. If u want livingstone to be positioned as a great destination do something different guys! Invite Hollywood to shoot from there! Build a world class golf course! Build a tennis court and host huge top class tennis championship…then those Hollywood stars…Tennis Stars! Golf stars will tweet about livingstone! U just need a #tag livingstone!! Do something different!!!

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  2. @JC, my point too. $50m for a world class hotel, conference facility for 5000 and a sky wheel is a joke. this won’t be a premier centre in Southern Africa but just in Southern Province. remember that Zim has big plans for their Vic falls side.

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  3. Now thats what I call constractive critisizm and debt. For sure.. I agree with you JC. besides that we think by building good roads only will make tourist come to zambia? No way they have better roads where they are coming from. A tourist can not come all the why from America and see the victoria falls then go back. Come up with big amusement parks with breath taking roller coasters, A dare devil kind of the Zoo apart from game viewing. Make a glass tunnel under waters of zambezi or Kariba dam. We have seen things out their that makes you want to go back and see again.
    On positive note.. amazing race season 27 there is a part they came zambia… beautiful staff.. the bazunguz where treated to a real wild life

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  4. They are just going to cut out our Zambians struggling with small lodges. These investments will be siphoning profits out of the country just like the few top level hotels around. Why don’t we come up with a product that empowers our own?

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  5. Maybe we need to get back to basics like have power in our lodges so people can enjoy aircon or properly trained staff and less crime. no one going to come if we don’t have the basics and Zim is light years ahead of us. remember small lodges and hotels leave money in the town. Big hotels leave nothing all goes overseas. The Chinese investors are the worse for that. Next they will build Disney world Africa in Livingstone near the falls.

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