Zambia again failed to meet its annual target of attracting 1 million tourist arrivals in 2015
This is according to figures contained in the 2015 Tourism Statistical Digest released by the he United Nations World Tourism Organisations (UNWTO).
Zambia recorded a total of 931,782 international tourist arrivals in 2015 compared to 946,969 tourists in 2014 resulting in a decline of 1.6 percent.
Out of the 53.3 million international tourists’ arrivals to Africa, Zambia received only 1.7 percent of the total tourists’ arrivals in Africa.
Business tourists dominated the arrivals contributing 54 percent while holiday and leisure travelers were second at 25 percent.
There was a marked reduction decline for leisure and holiday tourism from 249,501 in 2014 to 235,235 in 2015 representing a decrease of 5.7 percent.
Business tourist arrivals also reduced from 506,054 tourists in 2014 to 499,584 in 2015 which translated to 1.3 percent decline.
However, there was an increase in conference arrivals from 21,013 in 2014 to 22,902 in 2015 representing an increase of 9 percent.
The total number of tourist visits to the five national parks inclusive of Lusaka Park was 101, 972.
South Luangwa National Park had the highest number of tourists at 43, 653 while Lower Zambezi National Park recorded the least tourists at 9,011.
The Victoria Falls, which is one of the Seven Wonders of the World and Zambia’s flagship tourism product, recorded 141,929 tourists compared to 152,798 tourists in 2014, representing a drop of 7.7 percent.
During the year under review, the total number of rooms available was 43,119 as compared to 42,932 in 2014, representing an increase of 0.4 percent.
The 2015 national annual average room occupancy rate increased from 61.9 percent in 2014 to 69.8 percent in 2015 while the national annual average bed occupancy rate during the year under review was 71.4 percent compared 72.2 percent in 2014.
The increase in room occupancy rate could be attributed to increase in domestic tourism activities and Meeting Incentives Conferencing and Exhibitions (MICE).
The average length of stay reduced to four days in 2015 as compared to five and half days in 2014.
The number of people employed in the hospitality industry during the year under review was 57,384 compared 57,003 in 2014 recording an increase of 0.7 percent.
Southern Province recorded a high number of employees accounting for 22,872 employees in the hospitality industry while Northern Province had the least record of employees at 836.
The annual tourism earnings increased from K3, 945,710,713.08 in 2014 to K4, 408, 160,075.42 in 2015 representing an increase of 11.38 percent.
However, the annual tourism earning, when converted to the United States Dollars dropped by 34.9% from US$616 million in 2014 to US$ 401 million in 2015.