Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Scott calls for aggressive tourism marketing
By Edwin Mbulo in Livingstone
Wed 21 Aug. 2013, 14:01 CAT

VICE-PRESIDENT Guy Scott says Zambia needs to aggressively market its tourist attractions if it is to be competitive in the region. And VIce-President Scott has advised investors not to listen to gossip making rounds at the Polo and Golf Club.

Speaking during the third Zambia International Investment Forum (ZIIF), Vice-President Scott urged the delegates to be honest and brutally frank about the difficulties of doing business in Zambia.

"One of the things that we have to learn to do is to make noise about ourselves and not to be content with being number two or three all the time," he said.

He said Zambia had a lot of wildlife protected areas surpassing combined wildlife areas of Zimbabwe, Botswana and South Africa.

"But yet our income from those areas is a fraction; it is 5 per cent of what these neighbouring countries are getting because they are serious. We in Zambia we are not serious, we wait for the price of copper to go up, import Japanese vehicles, we have a good time. The price of copper goes down, we regret, unemployment, poverty. Do we want HIPC? And then we go back again in the next cycle. We are not being serious in making an industry out of tourism," Vice-President Scott said.

He said the United Nations World Tourism Organisation general assembly was important for Zambia to extensively market itself.

"We need to make noise about ourselves and make sure that the rich people from China, India and the Far East know that the Victoria Falls are in Zambia; Luangwa Valley is in Zambia," he said.

Vice-President Scott said the PF wanted to add value to all business transactions so that they benefit the local poor people.

"We want ordinary Zambians to be involved, we want ordinary people to participate in this; the whole benefit is not for somebody who is very rich and somebody who owns expensive capital assets while many poor Zambians remain cut outside the system," Vice-President Scott said.
He said the taxation structures as they evolve would benefit the people who create a lot of jobs.

VIce-President Scott advised the over 50 investors who include 25 foreigners to contact his office if in doubt on what the PF priorities were.

"I know that it is very difficult here in this country because of gossiping classes. The people we meet at the Polo club and the golf club do talk a lot of nonsense. I was reliably informed yesterday Monday at the Lusaka golf club that only half of the beds in Livingstone have been booked, because it UNWTO is 100 or 110 per cent in Zimbabwe. Checking it is completely untrue, so don't listen to gossip, come and see me or the Minister of Tourism if you have any doubt about what our policies are, what our priorities are," he said.

And according to a ZDA presentation, over 20 development sites in national parks countrywide have been listed for tourism concessions.

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