The government says the economy of Southern Province and Livingstone, in particular, is heavily dependent on the tourism sector in that part of the region.
Provincial Permanent Secretary Mwangala Liomba points out that the only challenge the sector faces is that most people, who include both local and international tourist, do not fully exploit the various tourism sites dotted across the province.
Mr Liomba told ZANIS on the sidelines of the Southern Province Exposition, to be officially launched tomorrow, that the province will continue relying on tourism, adding that government will also focus on accelerating the development of other sectors through value- addition of local products.
Mr Liomba stressed that the region has had several untapped riches which need to be exploited especially in tourism and agriculture.
He said government is trying to ensure that necessary infrastructure is put in place in all tourism sites across the province.
“As you know, the ability of the national economy to benefit from tourism depends on the availability of investment to develop the necessary infrastructure and on its ability to supply the needs of tourists,” he explained.
Mr Liomba added that this is the reason why government decided to have the exposition, in order to accelerate the economic diversification and exploration of untapped potential in various sectors of development.
“The exposition will be treated as an opportunity to open up Southern Province, and enhance youth empowerment and employment creation,” he added.
Mr Liomba expressed optimism that the region is poised to diversify its traditional reliance on tourism to other areas of interest with the successful hosting of the Expo.
Meanwhile, Livingstone residents have challenged stakeholders to diversify the economy of Southern Province by tapping into other beneficial sectors of the province.
“I was born in Livingstone 66 years ago, there were some industries in Livingstone apart from the hospitality industry which has dominated the region, I don’t know what has happened,” Patrick Mwiza a resident of Livingstone lamented.
And Emanuel Nyambe 33, complained that he among other residents of Livingstone have different career skills far away from hospitality industry and they feel disadvantaged in the tourist capital.
Meanwhile, the Southern Province exposition has gained momentum with several local and international exhibitors, as well as would be investors have all arrived in the tourist capital which is the Expo’s hosting place.
The Expo’s theme is accelerating Development through Value Addition and Diversification and President Edgar Lungu is expected to grace the event.