Minister of Tourism Hon. Rodney Sikumba has emphasised the need for dialogue among key players in Zambia’s tourism sector in order to resolve ongoing challenges the industry is facing.
Speaking during a networking event hosted by the Eco Tourism Association of Zambia (ETAZ), Hon. Sikumba said tourism in the country could only see a positive turnaround if parties involved were given an opportunity to make recommendations on the best practices the sector could adopt.
“Together we can resolve challenges around conservation and management of Zambia’s tourism resources. Posterity will judge us harshly if we fail to conserve the very resource that sustains Zambia’s tourism,” he added.
The minister expressed confidence that the forthcoming African Union mid-year summit would present a chance for the country to showcase its unique capabilities and said that government was keen to enter partnerships with the private sector and local communities in its quest to embrace all players along the value chain.
“Communities who are custodians of these resources are key to these partnerships and the agenda on conservation. They need to be integrated into the tourism value chains for them to appreciate the benefit of conserving and protecting these resources,” Hon Sikumba said.
Meanwhile, ETAZ Chairperson Grant Cumings said “Zambia has a lot to offer… and we as the ETAZ executive committee have tried to identify a couple of key areas we could work together on to develop tourism,” Mr Cumings said.
“The primary reason for this function is to promote, in this new dawn, an era of improved dialogue and interaction between Government and the private sector, with meaningful outcomes that should include an improved tourism landscape, better protected and sustained wildlife and wild places, and therefore, a better Zambia,” he explained.
“We are convinced that Zambia’s wildlife and wild places are in safer hands now than the have been for a very long time.”
Mr Cumings called for positive actions which would benefit the sector to accompany the discussions that were made during the networking event.
“Zambia has the talent, the natural resources, and the ambition. The way forward is clear and the private sector is here to work with Government to make a stronger photographic tourism sector,” he concluded.