Ministry of Tourism and Arts says the authority is working on a domestic strategy to ensure that Zambians enjoy the domestic tourism products endowed in the country.
Speaking during the tourism writing and arts competition awards presentation in Lusaka, Ministry of Tourism and Arts Director for Tourism Lillian Bwalya disclosed that the ministry will soon launch the new strategy.
Ms. Bwalya explained that the domestic strategy will include sensitization of the general public, to look at tourism not just as an activity for the elite, but something that can be enjoyed by any person.
ZANIS reports that Ms Bwalya further implored learners who participated in the tourism writing and arts competition to always put a spotlight on domestic tourism in the country, as they carry out their day to day activities.
She noted the involvement of the education sector in promoting local tourism, as a vital component in marketing local tourism sites.
Ms Bwalya pointed out the need for all Zambians to enjoy and take advantage of the natural resources endowed in local tourism, saying that the cost of visiting sites should not be a hindrance.
“The issue here is for the government to make sure that local people enjoy the rich tourism endowed in the country, by creating a favourable environment for the local people,” Ms Bwalya stated.
She was representing the Minister of Tourism and Arts Rodney Sikumba.
And ZTA Chairperson Tecla Ngwenya disclosed that the award programme was aimed at promoting domestic tourism through schools, done to cultivate a culture of local tourism and holidays among school going children and the public at large.
Dr Ngwenya observed that domestic tourism, despite having rich and diverse tourism products, continues to remain low.
The ZTA Chairperson explained that this has prompted the agency to come up with activities such as school competitions, as one way of encouraging domestic tourism among locals.
She added that the competition is in line with the national tourism policy which seeks to promote school-based tourism programmes in the curriculum, in a bid to inculcate travel and tourism values at an early stage in society.
“The Zambia Tourism Agency is alive to the important role that the education sector plays towards the development and promotion of tourism in Zambia,” Dr. Ngwenya noted.
She said the agency was convinced that the implementation of the competition has played a key role in the education of tourism among learners, and that it has enhanced awareness of the country’s rich tourism assets.
And ZTA Acting Chief Executive Officer Chavunga Lungu noted the effects of the COVID-19 situation on the tourism sector.
Mr Lungu explained that the approach on tourism promotion in schools has taken a different format, which is aimed at maintaining the momentum of promoting the sector.
He disclosed that the competition was only open to children in primary schools, attracting 26 schools from within Lusaka Province, and giving out 9 awards to pupils from the named participating schools.
“It is worth noting that the tourism writing and art competition for schools has filled the void of normal activities to sustain the promotion of tourism in the education sector,” Mr Lungu explained.
Meanwhile, schools representative Thornhill Primary School teacher Anthony Yambayamba said the initiative has been appreciated by many schools.
Mr Yambayamba stressed the importance of involving learners on the importance of local tourism, adding that it is the starting point of disseminating information even to the general public.
The competition was held under the theme take a holiday, have it local which has provided an opportunity to winning pupils on an all-expenses paid tour of the country’s premium tourism destination, Livingstone.