Exclusive interview – Hon. Charles R. Banda, Zambia’s Minister of Tourism and Arts
This year, Zambia is the ITB Berlin 2018 Convention & Culture Partner. We asked Hon. Charles R. Banda, Zambia’s Minister of Tourism and Arts what the key reasons were for the decision to partner with ITB Berlin.
ZAMBIA STILL OFFERS A TRULY AUTHENTIC AFRICAN HOLIDAY EXPERIENCE, WHERE THE ONLY THING THAT GETS SPOILED IS YOU
Zambia went into partnership with ITB Berlin due to the growing demand of Zambian tourism products across the globe. Zambia will leverage this partnership with ITB Berlin to sell the country’s unique setting to lure tourists, investors and general visitors to explore the amazing beauty of Zambia and to create an environment that ensures an equitable balance between the developmental needs of the country and an investment climate for wealth creation. As the Convention & Culture Partner of the World’s leading outbound Travel market, Zambia is taking its people, attractions, rhythms and food delicacies to Berlin to ignite the passion of the travel industry, and the German outbound market towards destination Zambia.
How important is sustainable tourism for your nation?
Zambia remains committed to sustainable use of natural resources, which is a result of good conservation and wildlife management, and it is a collective interest to ensure that the use of these resources is sustainable for future generations. Sustainable tourism has been a priority on the Zambian Government’s developmental agenda in ensuring that the principles for sustainable tourism are evident in the way natural resources are managed. Leading the way in this direction, the Zambian President, His Excellency Edgar Chagwa Lungu, has called on Zambians to be agents of creation of awareness of the massive benefits to be reaped from protecting sustainable tourism for development
How are tourism and transport infrastructure evolving in Zambia?
The promotion of tourism in Zambia is part of a conscious strategy by the Government to diversify the economy. Zambia is an emerging and one of the fastest growing economies and is still one of the largest copper producing countries of the world. Now more than ever before, Zambia is looking for more investments in the various sectors of the economy. The Zambian Government has rolled out a robust country infrastructure programme covering air and road sectors of the economy. Currently, the main airport, Kenneth Kaunda International Airport has been upgraded to world class to meet the ever-demanding needs of the travellers. The other two airports, the Harry Mwaanga Nkumbula in Livingstone at the Victoria Falls as well as the Simon Mwansa Kapwepwe Airport in Ndola on the Copperbelt province have also been upgraded to enable direct ights to these towns. On the road infrastructure, Government has rolled out the Link Zambia 8000, the pave Zambia 2000 and the Road Tolling programs. These projects are aimed at transforming Zambia into a truly land-linked country in Southern Africa.
The Government has already provided an enabling environment which stresses the existence of a “government led” and “private sector-driven” tourism industry which aims at achieving 6% contribution to GDP by 2030. The Tourism sector is expected to grow faster than the wider economy and many other industries over the next decade.
What is your key message to the world’s travel agents and tour operators present at ITB Berlin this year?
As a country, at ITB Berlin, we want to demonstrate our tourism distinctiveness and the unspoiled exploits that we continue to enjoy. We have registered over 30 private sector operators who will be exhibiting at the Zambian stands whose pro les cut across most of the scope and destinations of our tourism in Zambia. Zambia still offers a truly authentic African holiday experience, where the only thing that gets spoiled is you. The depth of her cultures, the drama of her landscapes and wildlife plus the delightful and peaceful people- all of this is closer than you think. This is the Zambia we want the world to take with them, this is the untold story we want to be told.
Photo: Hon. Charles R. Banda, Minister of Tourism & Arts, Zambia