Zambia has the potential to become a hub and choice destination for the Meetings Incentives, Conferences and Events (MICE) industry in the Southern African Region, says leading domestic airline Proflight Zambia.
An increase in activity in the MICE industry, which represents an important segment of the sector of tourism focusing on business events and activities, holds ample opportunities for the country’s tourism sector and encourages greater stakeholder participation in providing services and facilities, said the airline’s director of government and industry affairs Captain Philip Lemba.
“Zambia’s central location, its various tourist attractions and untouched natural landscape;, existing businesses and opportunities for investment, make it a very strong contender in the MICE industry,” said Captain Lemba.
He further noted that Proflight’s domestic and regional flight network served to connect both business and leisure travellers to their destinations, which was a vital component in making the industry a success through providing accessible, quick and affordable mobility.
“Tourism has been the cornerstone of Proflight’s focus and value. The MICE industry has added a growing new dimension to the sector and with it the capacity to attract a large number of visitors, both business and leisure, some with an extended stay period in the country. We need to encourage more conference delegates to take the extra time to explore more of their destinations, especially given that such activities are now being factored into meeting structures and event programmes, or run alongside them; this and the additional spending is beneficial as it could translate into more business for local service providers,” noted Captain Lemba.
Proflight has been a keen promoter of the local tourism sector and a key player in facilitating international travel into and around the country. The airline works in partnership government, including the Zambia Tourism Agency (ZTA), and other stakeholders in the wider sector to promote domestic tourism across the country as well as connect international tourists to Zambia.
Captain Lemba noted that although the MICE industry was still in its infancy in Zambia, the benefits and opportunities it presented were reason enough for investors and stakeholders to get excited about it. He said Zambia was catching up, with several infrastructure projects taking shape across different sectors, including constriction of the new international terminal at Kenneth Kaunda International Airport.
“In order to reap the full benefits from Zambia’s tourism industry, stakeholders from various industries such as aviation, hospitality, sports, mining, accounting, banking and finance and law need to come together in relevant partnerships. MICE provides a platform to do that,” he said.
The MICE industry enables key stakeholders to plan ahead for travellers’ needs such as food, beverages, shopping, entertainment, transport and accommodation. It also allows participants to take advantage of the large numbers and pass on benefits to the travellers and customers in the form of discounted travel costs and lodging, which can sometimes prove to be a limiting factor when an individual is travelling independently.
During discussions at the recent 2017 Zambia Tourism Expo, Proflight called on government as a lead stakeholder in the MICE business to give particular attention to creating an enabling and conducive environment for private sector participation. Proflight welcomed the intentions in the 2017 National Budget to transform Livingstone into a premier conferencing centre in Southern Africa.
The United Nations World Tourism (UNWTO) General Assembly successfully held in Livingstone in 2013 in partnership with Zimbabwe marking a significant highlight in the development for the MICE business in Zambia. Lusaka and Ndola are among the other cities to have hosted events of such magnitude with the Under 20 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) held in Lusaka this year.
About Proflight Zambia
Proflight Zambia was established in 1991 and is Zambia’s leading scheduled airline. From its base in Lusaka its domestic routes include Livingstone, Mfuwe, Lower Zambezi, Kalabo, Ndola, Solwezi, Kasama, Ndola-Solwezi and Ndola-Kasama, and regional routes to Lilongwe in Malawi, and Durban in South Africa, with Mfuwe-Lower Zambezi between June 15 and October 31, 2017.
The airline prides itself in providing a safe, reliable, efficient and friendly service, and offering good value to business and leisure travellers locally and internationally.
The airline operates a 50-seater Bombardier CRJ-100 jet, three 29-seater Jetstream 41 aircraft, one 18-seater Jetstream 32 and two C208 Caravans.
More information is available at www.flyzambia.com.