Zambia launches tourism investment guidelines at FITUR, highlights UNWTO’s support

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As part of concerted efforts at growing tourism in the country, the Ministry of Tourism, Republic of Zambia, has launched Zambia Investment Guidelines and Tourism Investment Promotion at the ongoing FITUR expo in Madrid, Spain.
While performing the soft launch on January 23, 2024 at the global travel expo, Evans Muhanga, permanent secretary, Ministry of Tourism, Zambia, noted that the launch marked a significant milestone in the country’s journey towards fostering sustainable tourism development.

He acknowledged the support of the World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) in facilitating the development of the investment guidelines, saying that the UN agency’s expertise and collaboration have been invaluable in shaping the guidelines, which will serve as a comprehensive roadmap for potential investors looking to contribute to the growth of Zambia’s tourism sector.

Speaking on the rationale for the guidelines, the Permanent Secretary of Zambia’s Ministry of Tourism Mr. Evans Muhanga said that, “The Republic of Zambia has given top priority to advancing the tourism sector in its development agenda, recognizing its potential to diversify the national and reduce reliance on traditional exports. 

“In pursuit of this goal, various measures are being implemented, including simplifying procedures for conducting tourism activities, facilitating access to prominent tourism sites, and developing essential infrastructure. 
These initiatives are designed to attract investment to tourism destinations that are yet to be fully developed”.
He noted that with its diverse landscapes, rich cultural heritage, and abundant wildlife, Zambia stands as a beacon of untapped potential in the global tourism arena. “Our government is committed to creating a conducive environment that encourages and supports investment in the tourism sector. “We firmly believe that strategic partnerships and investments will not only contribute to the economic development of our nation, but will also play a pivotal role in the conservation of our natural and cultural resources,” he assured at the launch.

UNWTO Secretary General Zurab Pololikashvili

The Permanent Secretary used the launch event to further invite all participants to look forward to the upcoming presentation, which promises to be an enlightening showcase of Zambia’s tourism endowment and the myriad opportunities available for investment.

“Our nation boasts a wealth of attractions, from the iconic Victoria Falls to the untamed beauty of our national parks, providing a diverse range of possibilities for investors seeking to be part of our tourism success story”.
Muhanga also announced that Zambia, in collaboration with the UNWTO, will host three significant events over the course of one week in April 2024. The events, according to him, include the UNWTO Dialogue with Chief Executives of National Tourism Organizations, the Tourism Investment Forum and the Travel, Hospitality and Tourism Education Summit. 

Permanent Secretary of Zambia’s Ministry of Tourism Mr. Evans Muhanga

The three events are intended to boost Zambia’s priority for human capital in its tourism development agenda and as such has identified a location to establish the country’s first centre of excellence for tourism education, which is earmarked as a UNWTO Academy. 

“We are further pleased to inform this gathering that the Government of Zambia in adherence to the UNWTO Tourism Education guidelines has successfully integrated tourism education in the school framework from early childhood to secondary school,” Muhanga said.

In his opening remarks at the “Invest in Zambia: Tourism Investment Outlook, Trends and Opportunities” UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili was excited with the talks on investments, which he described as one of UNWTO’s biggest priorities for tourism this year and beyond.

“The Government of Zambia recognizes the power of our sector to drive growth. I commend their vision to turn Zambia into one of the top five destinations in Sub-Saharan Africa by 2030,” he said.

He explained that in recent years, Africa has enjoyed a significant increase in announced greenfield tourism FDI projects, about 81 projects, totalling around $USD 9billion were announced between 2018 and 2022.Of this, more than $3 billion came from European investors. 

“I have every confidence Zambia can keep growing this number.  We are proud to have worked with the Ministry of Tourism to create ‘Tourism Doing Business: Investing in Zambia’. It is a shared success”. 

He disclosed that the guide being launched is the joint work of UNWTO, the Ministry of Tourism of Zambia, the Zambia Tourism Agency and the Zambia Development Agency.

“This guide will provide a reference point for investors, rich in information on Zambia’s current investment climate.
 
“And it shows emerging investment opportunities in its tourism cluster. “As we plan to launch this report in April in Zambia, we invite investors, policymakers, and international partners to join us in this exciting journey”. 
Explaining the reasons investors should look to Zambia, Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili said they include its stable political environment, its wide market access, and the pro-business reforms carried out by the government.

He also noted that tax relaxation measures, incentives and favorable policy frameworks contribute in making Zambia an investment haven.

All these, he said, can help attract foreign investors to Zambian tourism, coupled with the great work the government in promoting the country to tourists.
 
“Above all, by celebrating the rich and vibrant culture of Zambia, a hugely diverse country, home to 70 ethno-linguistic groups. 

“It is a country committed to the protection of its natural and cultural resources, with 30% of the land protected as National Park and it is committed to sharing these wonders with the world,”  Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili said.

He recalled that in recent years, effective marketing has driven recovery with the Yamo Loko campaign showcasing local destinations and reached new audiences. 

Hand-in-hand with this, he said that Zambia has expanded its list of visa-exempt travellers for tourism and business purposes. 

“Now, visitors from 43 countries, such as Canada, Australia, China, the US, Saudi Arabia, and the majority of EU nations can enter Zambia without a visa.

“As it grows, as a destination for both tourists and investors, we will be there to support the country,” he promised.

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