THERE is need to establish a national airline as well as undertake a cost-benefit analysis of various tourism tax incentives and licence reforms to increase the tourism sector’s contribution to the economy.
The Policy Monitoring and Research Centre (PMRC) says there was need to carry out a cost-benefit analysis of various tax incentives and licensing reforms as well as the establishment of a national airline to promote tourism in the country.
Executive director Bernadette Deka said this when she led a PMRC research team which appeared before the Parliamentary Committee on Lands, Environment and Tourism to discuss “The State of Zambia’s Tourism Sector.”
“In the recent years, there has been a steady but minimal increase in the tourism sector’s direct contribution to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).”
“The sector’s direct contribution to GDP increased from an average of about 2.3 per cent about US$200 million in 2011 to an average of about 3.7 per cent about $320 million in 2015 but with more reforms its contribution can grow,” Ms Deka said.
The submission was based on the tourism sector’s contribution to GDP, total revenue collected and statistics on employment in the recent years.
She called for increased political will to facilitate funding of various tourism related developments, and effective implementation of revised policies and legislation while maintaining a stable economic landscape to reduce the cost of doing business.
Ms Deka said a robust domestic and international tourism marketing plan was needed to incorporate all tourism products including visual arts culture, heritage sites and others.
“Tourism diversification to other products in addition to the Victoria Falls which should include arts, culture and other products and improved data collection of tourism related statistics is need to grow the sector,” she said.
Ms Deka said increased funding towards the implementation of the Tourism Satellite Account (TSA) for the collection of various information and statistics on the sector as well as effective marketing through dynamic tourism packaging were key to increased tourist arrivals and increased length of stay thereby translating into higher tourism earnings.