2nd Hospitality and Tourism Education Summit gets underway in Zambia


The 2024 Travel, Hospitality, and Tourism Education Summit is taking place at the Mulungushi International Conference Centre in Lusaka. Dignitaries and stakeholders from Zambia and other countries are attending the event, which is organized by the Zambia Institute of Tourism and Hospitality Studies (ZITHS) under the Ministry of Tourism.

The summit’s objective is to address the pressing need for skilled professionals in Africa’s tourism industry while ensuring that education aligns with industry development within the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
The summit commenced today, April 15 with a keynote address delivered by Rodney Sikumba, Minister of Tourism. Sikumba emphasized Zambia’s commitment to prioritizing tourism as a catalyst for economic transformation and job creation, particularly among the youth. He outlined the government’s vision to position Zambia as a preferred tourism destination, leveraging its natural resources, cultural heritage and creative industries.

The Minister stated, “Zambia has prioritized tourism as a key driver for economic transformation and job creation. Our vision is to make Zambia a preferred destination of choice with unique features thriving on well-conserved natural resources, cultural heritage, and creative industries.”

Highlighting key initiatives, Sikumba announced plans for tourism infrastructure development, policy reforms, and enhanced marketing efforts. He also disclosed the government’s intention to develop tourism sites such as Kasaba Bay, Liuwa National Park, and the Source of the Zambezi River, utilizing a USD 100 million concession loan from the World Bank. These endeavours align with Zambia’s tourism master plan and the eighth National Development Plan (2022-2026).

In his speech, Douglas M. Syakalima, Minister of Education, commended the collaborative efforts between the Ministries of Tourism and Education in advancing the tourism education agenda. Syakalima highlighted the recent alignment of the curriculum to include tourism and hospitality, in line with President Hakainde Hichilema’s directive to reform the curriculum to encompass artisanal skills.

He emphasized, “Education bridges the gap between the demands of the tourism sector and the graduates being prepared for the sector. The introduction of travel and tourism as a subject at the secondary school level will significantly contribute to job creation and economic development.”

The summit also featured a keynote speech by Elcia Grandcourt, Regional Director for Africa, UN Tourism, who praised Zambia’s efforts in promoting tourism education and industry development. Grandcourt highlighted the importance of education in leveraging tourism for youth empowerment, job creation and socio-economic advancement across Africa.

Grandcourt commended Zambia’s recovery in tourism, noting positive growth trends in visitor numbers and revenue. She emphasized Zambia’s role as a leader in the region, citing effective visa policies, marketing strategies and digital platforms as key factors driving the country’s tourism sector.

Grandcourt stated, “Zambia indeed is a country blessed with rich cultural and natural heritage, which constitute unique selling points to brand and market the country as a competitive tourism destination.”

Discussing investment in human capital, Grandcourt added, “Investing in human capital development and youth is of paramount importance. People are placed at the center of tourism and its growth.”

The UN Tourism Africa Chief also underscored the importance of collaboration among stakeholders to unlock the full potential of tourism, ensuring inclusive and sustainable development. She shared insights from the UN Tourism Education Guidelines and highlighted ongoing initiatives to integrate tourism education into Zambia’s high school systems.

The summit is being attended by educators, policymakers, industry stakeholders, and international organizations and will for the next three days, call to action for collective efforts in building a skilled workforce and stimulating the growth of Zambia’s and the wider African tourism industry.

The Summit features discussions and presentations on various themes by expert speakers and panelists, providing insights on the significance of hospitality and tourism education in the development of the sector.

Story by: Samuel Obeng Appah


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