Zambia ‘Lets Explore’ is the new Zambia Tourism Board (ZTB) slogan meant to attract tourists and create an environment that ensures an equitable balance between the development needs of the country and an investment climate for wealth creation.
Previously without realisation, “Zambia The Real Africa’ slogan was for many years portraying the country in negative terms.
‘Zambia the Real Africa’ was seen as a major obstacle in marketing the country as this statement was swaggering in the sense that it brought a lot of misconception about what Africa or Zambia was.
To the outsiders, Africa was associated with crime, civil war, drought, floods, poverty, disease and to some it was simply a jungle with nothing to offer.
The 2008-2009 global economic meltdown also had its share of negative effect on Zambia’s tourism sector, which saw a slight reduction in tourists inflows.
After months of consultation with the various stakeholders, a new brand was designed to give a significant share to Zambia’s tourism sector.
‘Zambia Let’s Explore’ gives a new direction on how tourism should be promoted and marketed in order for the sector to earn revenue.
Most importantly, the re-branding will enhance the promotion of domestic tourism.
Tourism product range would go beyond being wildlife -based to include sport, cultural, adventure and eco-tourism and meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions.
It is for this reason that Zambia remains engaged in promoting tourism because it is a fast expanding sector, which brings an important
contribution to the foreign exchange earnings of the country.
It important to note that Government’s policy target during the Sixth National Development Plan (SNDP) for the sector is to make Zambia as an ideal tourism destination with unique features and booming national cultural heritage that contribute to sustainable economic growth and poverty reduction by 2030.
The new brand ‘Zambia Let’s Explore’ will therefore facilitate the up scaling of the tourism sector towards higher values of the culture heritage and upgrade the capacity in the provision of related sectors.
Further, the Zambia Lets Explore will help increase tourism direct earnings from US$200 million in 2009 to $449 million by 2015 as well as provide an enabling environment that preserves and promotes Zambia’s culture heritage to achieve meaningful growth.
This will ensure the development of economically viable industries benefit from the investment inflows arising out of the boom in the tourism sector.
It is however, expected that with the infrastructure development taking place in the Greater Livingstone area, Kafue National Park and Northern circuit once concluded would further enhance economic growth.
According to ZTB director of marketing Evans Muhanga, the tourism sector has the potential to earn $1.4 billion per annum.
Mr Muhanga said it was the board’s strategy to increase the time tourists spend in the country from current three to seven days in order to earn $1.4 billion.
“Assuming that each tourist spends $200 a day on meals, accommodation and transport and if they spend seven days in the country we are expecting to get $1,400 and it is our plan to increase the number of days the tourist spends in Zambia from the current three to five or seven days.
“We are targeting a million tourists and from that projection we will be able to get $1.4 billion in revenue per annum,” Mr Muhanga explained.
ZTB’s target is to increase tourist arrivals from 850 to 1.5 million visitors in the next three-five by exposing tourists to a number of tourist destinations.
“As a result the tourism sector will be able to contribute between 5 per cent and 10 per cent to the Gross Domestics Product (GDP) in the next five years and currently the sectors GDP contribution was at 2 per cent.
It is projected that the tourism sector will create 45,000 jobs by the year 2015 as a result of diversified tourism products on offer.
In order for the industry to achieve optimal results, supporting infrastructure such as having an improved transport system, telecommunication and energy services will better serve the tourists.
This can be done by private sector involvement in the provision of supporting services.
At the same time the, the Government through the private sector development reform programme, is transforming the legal and regulatory environment to facilitate business transactions.
It is believed that streamlining the business licensing procedures and land acquisition will allow the private sector to invest in supporting services.
This will enable the tourism industry to become competitive, viable and at the same time sustainable.
The introduction of the new national airline Fly Zambia would help promote tourism.
Commenting on the brand, Hotel and Catering Association of Zambia (HCAZ) president Felix Mulenga said:
“The brand Let’s Explore will mean more tourist attraction will be explored as you know the country has a number of unexplored attractions and the exploration should start by local tourists”.
With the projection set, the association will ensure that it collectively work hand in hand with the ministry of tourism as a way of enhancing the brand.
Further, Government thrust during the SNDP period with regard to Arts and Culture is to focus on the provision of requisite infrastructure and skills for the promotion of creative industries for socio-economic development and preservation of Zambia’s cultural heritage.
Let’s Explore’ will also accord an opportunity to market and package Zambia’s traditional ceremonies such N’cwala in Eastern Province, Umutomboko in Luapula, Ukusefya Pa Ng’wena in the Northern part, Likumbi Lyamizein North Western Province, in Southern Province Lwiindi and Kuomboka cermoney in Western province.
Therfore, ‘Zambia Let’s Explore’ will not only attract tourists but create the projected 45,000 jobs as well as increase earning from the fast-growing sector.