Destination Livingstone, an Initiative comprising of public and private sector players, has embarked on a campaign to revive domestic tourism, to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in Livingstone City.
Destination Livingstone Initiative Chairperson, Peter Jones says, the marketing campaign which was launched virtually yesterday, is aimed at reviving the local economy by enhancing domestic tourism.
Mr Jones observed that most tourism dependent businesses have shut down or are operating at a loss due to a drastic reduction in international tourists.
Mr. Jones said tourism services and packages for local people had always been there but needed to be highlighted to attract domestic tourists.
He said numerous investments had been made in Livingstone, not just through construction of hotels, but with the upgrading of Harry Mwaanga Nkumbula International Airport by government.
“A lot of investors put in a lot of money in the area, not just in the hotels but government also put in a lot of money in upgrading our airport and needs a return on its investment,” he said.
Mr. Jones said this in Livingstone during a meeting held at the River Club under the theme: The Re-emergence of Zambia’s tourism capital; A Cooperation between the private sector, Livingstone City Council and Local Government Departments.
He stressed the need for tourism stakeholders to adapt to new trends in the sector to attract increased numbers of domestic tourists.
“We need to adapt to new trends; tourists do not just want to see things, they want to engage with local people,” he said.
Mr. Jones said it was time to reposition the city to attract more local tourists and in readiness for the opening up of the world in the post COVID-19 era.
And speaking in an interview, Livingstone Tourism Association (LTA) Acting Chairman Hillary Kashempa said he was hopeful the marketing campaign was the first step in helping tour operators reopen their businesses, and for those which were open to record some profit.
Mr. Kashempa said if implemented effectively, local people would buy into the campaign and visit Livingstone.
“Once that happens, we are hopeful that our businesses will thrive and be sustained,” he said.
He said LTA would continue supporting all viable projects that would help make Livingstone a destination of choice for local and international clientele.
“It is a priority to market Livingstone as a preferred tourism destination, during and after the COVID-19 period. This campaign is an additional force that we need to reach out to the masses, as part of efforts to save tourism enterprises,” he said.
Destination Livingstone Initiative’s long term goal is to increase social and economic benefits that tourism can bring to the people, businesses and the local economy of Livingstone.
Ministry of Tourism Permanent Secretary Patrick Lungu sits on the Destination Livingstone Board, alongside Livingstone Acting Town Clerk George Mulenga, Livingstone Mayor Eugene Mapuwo and officials from the Zambia Tourism Agency, among others.