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Analyst Insight by Paz Casal.
Travel and tourism plays an important role in the economic development of Zambia. Over the years, the industry has grown steadily to become one of the most important economic segments in the country. It is also amongst the largest sources of foreign exchange.
The nation's economy recorded strong performance in 2010 and growth was partly boosted by the rebound of the travel and tourism industry. The Zambian government has embarked on a policy of economic diversification with an emphasis on travel and tourism. Prioritising the industry has helped to attract private investment, create jobs and also preserves the country's unique natural resources.
Impressive growth in arrivals
Zambia saw a strong increase in the number of tourists who visited country in 2010 as compared to the previous year. A remarkable growth of 8% was registered, driven by a stronger-than-expected recovery of the global economy from the recession in core overseas markets and also due to the FIFA World Cup tournament in South Africa. The positive trend in arrivals further boosted tourism receipts and thereby, bringing in vital revenue needed for the growth and development of the nation's travel and tourism industry.
Let's Explore Zambia
In order to stay competitive with rivals and strengthen its position in priority markets, the government through Zambia Tourism Board (ZTB) has been working on new strategies to increase the country's tourism market share and reposition itself to take full advantages of Zambia's tourism potential. As a result this month, Rupiah Banda, the President of Zambia has just launched the new slogan and logo for the promotion of Zambia's tourism: Let's Explore.
ZAMBIA Tourism Board (ZTB) director of marketing Evans Muhanga has stated that the 'Let's Explore' campaign was not aimed at making huge profits but promoting sustainable development and taking Zambia's tourism to a higher level. And that the re-branding of Zambia from 'The Real Africa' was also aimed at promoting domestic tourism and giving the sector a new face.
The president stressed the Government's commitment to providing an enabling environment for private sector investment into Zambia's tourism industry. Mr Banda also said that domestic tourism once fully developed, would determine the extent to which the country would succeed in attracting international tourists.
The re-branding will not only enhance the promotion of domestic tourism but it will broaden the tourism product range to include sport, cultural, adventure and eco-tourism as well as MICE tourism. The government expects that the launch of the new slogan will assist in raising the profile for Zambia as a favourite destination and increase the level of international tourist arrivals to 1,250,000, by 2015.
Travel and tourism is expected to maintain its role as one of the leading sectors in the growth of Zambia's economy during the forecast period. The future of travel and tourism in Zambia appears to be very promising.
Growth will continue to be driven by government actions to market and promote the country as a top travel destination. Measures taken by the government such as the re-branded Zambia will help attract more tourists in the future and also enabled the ZTB to get closer to its goal of three million tourist arrivals by the end of 2017.
These initiatives will also help create further awareness for tourists and increase their interest in travelling to the country. Nonetheless despite having the potential to become a leading tourist hub in southern Africa, Zambia hasn't yet developed its travel and tourism potential to the fullest.