The Hostels and Catering Association of Zambia (HCAZ) in Mbala district says tourist arrivals to Kalambo Falls and other tourist attractions in the area have drastically dropped due to COVID-19.
HCAZ Abercorn Chapter Chairperson, Geoffrey Chellah who also a proprietor of Lake Chila, Great Kalambo, and Ntala lodges said the drop in the tourist inflow has resulted in the hospitality industry in the area operating below average.
He has however expressed opportunism that the measures put in place to curb Covid 19 will enable the area to pick up in tourism.
“With concerted efforts being put in place globally to fight the pandemic, we are hoping to record some positive changes especially in 2021,” he said.
Mr. Chellah who is also a member of the Zambia Tourism Board said this in an interview with ZANIS in Mbala.
Meanwhile, Mr. Chellah has hailed government for the strides it is making in developing the tourism sector in the area despite the advent of COVID-19.
He said government has made efforts to improve the road network and develop other infrastructure leading to various tourism sites.
Mr. Chellah stated that the construction of the 40 kilometers Mbala-Kalambo and 22 kilometers Mbala-Kasesha road is also expected to help increase the inflow of tourists once the pandemic is mitigated.
He said this is a clear demonstration of government commitment to boost the sector.
Mr Chellah noted that the opening of the Samora Marshal Airport to civilian planes is yet another milestone in enhancing the sector as while as boosting trade in the Northern circuit and beyond.
He further disclosed that works by a Chinese firm on a 150 kilometers stretch to connect Mbala and Kasaba Bay in Nsama district through the Nsumbu national park has also advanced.
Meanwhile, a local tourist, Isaiah Kazeze from Mungwi has called on Zambians to promote local tourism by regularly visiting various sites.
He said Mbala has a number of tourism attractions such as Kalambo falls and also Nsunzu Mountain which has the highest peak, for mountain climbing lovers.
Mr. Kazeze appealed to Zambians living in the Diasporas to help in marketing the tourism sector in order to help the country earn foreign exchange.
And another tourist, Constance Sakala said she was impressed to see the Kalambo falls and other places linked to World War II such as Malwilo, lake Chila, and the Motomoto Museum.