The government says it had already started implementing some recommendations of the response measures highlighted in the findings of the assessment of the effects of Covid-19 on trade in tourism even before the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic struck.
Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry Permanent Secretary Mushuma Mulenga said during the presentation of the 2021 budget to parliament, the Ministry of Finance made favourable pronouncements regarding the tourism sector.
The pronouncements were aimed at boosting the sector which is in line with the findings of this particular assessment.
Mr. Mulenga said this during a virtual joint launch of the findings of the assessment of the effects of Covid-19 on trade in tourism and Covid-19 response measures for Zambia between the Ministry of Commerce Trade and Industry and the Ministry of Tourism in Lusaka today.
He said the Covid-19 pandemic has been cited as a global crisis affecting human health and wealth which has been acknowledged by the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the World Health Organization (WHO).
He said the Covid-19 pandemic has caused an unprecedented disruption to the global economy and world trade as production and consumption are scaled back across the globe.
Mr. Mulenga further said the Covid-19 pandemic has wrecked devastation on trade performance for most business and industries including the tourism sector which has been identified as one of the hardest hit by the pandemic.
He said Zambia’s tourism industry, like other sectors, has been faced with hardships in terms of sustaining a good business environment hence government was prompted to put up measures that respond to the effect of Covid-19 on trade and business welfare.
“The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) has revealed that the total contributions of tourism to global GDP stood at 10 percent in 2019. However this was projected to contract by 20 percent to 30 percent in 2020 and further projected the Covid-19 pandemic could cut down 50 million jobs worldwide in the travel and tourism industry,” he stated.
Mr. Mulenga said this further prompted government to seek an in-depth understanding of the extent of the impact of Covid-19 on the tourism sector in order to facilitate evidence based policy recommendations given that the sector is profiled as one of the promising areas.
“The four modes covers consumption of tourism services from abroad using internets bookings, who physically travelled from one country to another to consume a services ,establishment of foreign businesses in Zambia to provide a service through foreign direct investment and foreign professionals such as specialist who travel from their own country to another to provide a service for a specific period of time,” he stated.
He noted that results for the assessment indicated that modes for consumption of tourism services from abroad using internets bookings and those who physically travelled from one country to another to consume a services were affected due to increased number of booking cancellations and reduced foreign spending and travel as a result of the lockdown measures imposed by most countries in the world.
He said the assessment results further indicated that the overall employment in the tourism sector had reduced by 39 percent from 2019 to 2020.
“The study also made a comparison of revenue between the second quarter of 2019 and 2020, the results indicated that 74.5 percent of enterprises reported of more than 50 percent in revenue and 22.2 percent of enterprise reported revenue decreases between 20 percent and 50 percent,” he explained.
He said the reduction in revenue was mainly attributed to booking cancellations and induced quarantine measures among other major consumers of tourism services.