Lusaka Province Minister Bowman Lusambo has implored tour operators in the Lower Zambezi to prioritize local tourists in order for the sector to be sustainable.
And Mr Lusambo has challenged the tour operators to stop quoting their services in foreign currencies.
Speaking on Saturday when he held an interactive meeting with tour operators in the Lower Zambezi, Mr Lusambo said Zambians should be encouraged to visit tourist sites.
He said making the charges affordable and advertising tourism services in the local media will go a long way in creating a sustainable local tourism sector.
Mr Lusambo said government considers the tourism sector as a priority hence the decision to classify it as an economic sector.
The Lusaka Province Minister who is also Kabushi Member of Parliament said it is unfortunate that many Zambians have never had a chance to sample local tourism products.
He also announced that givegnment will start working on the Chiawa-Katuba road in order to make the Lower Zambezi accessible by road.
Mr Lusambo further directed the tour operators to stop the practice of charging in US dollars.
He said pegging the Kwacha to the US dollar rate should also be discouraged.
Mr Lusambo also condemned the practice of compelling local tourists to going through South Africa when making and confirming bookings and reservations.
On the issue of mining in the Lower Zambezi, Mr Lusambo said the position of government on the matter has been made.
And speaking on behalf of the tour operators, Lower Zambezi Tourism Association Acting Secretary
Paula Vrdoljak said the operators are concerned that the area is operating without a Management Plan since the expiration of the last one.
Mrs. Vrdoljak also emphasized the need for clarity and assurance on the long term sustainability of the Lower Zambezi given the proposal to launch mining activities in the area.