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Saturday, 28 July 2012

Policy changes that would enable tourism to grow

By Ruth Henson

The following policy changes would enable tourism to grow :

  1. Remove or drastically reduce visa fees.  Charging for tourists to enter Zambia is like charging customers for entering a shop. It will discourage many people from entering or they will enter less frequently.
  2. Reduce or remove the vast array of fees licences and levies on tourist (and other) businesses as these add to the cost and make Zambia a more expensive destination than neighbouring countries. Too many parts of Government have developed their own revenue collection systems without service delivery to match. For example council rates were instituted to pay for provision of water, sewage, roads, rubbish collection and street lighting. Councils no longer provide water or sewage, charge (again) for collecting rubbish and do little road maintenance. ZNTB, Zawa and National heritage charge fees which seem to be used for little or nothing beyond funding their existence.
  3. Market Zambia to the world in form of regular (weekly for example) interesting stories about various happenings in Zambia so that there is name recognition at international level. Market all levels of tourism from the backpacker to the five star hotel. At present it is mostly the top end of the market that ZNTB represents.
  4. Maintain a more favourable exchange rate. Letting the kwacha devalue more would make Zambia a cheaper destination.
  5. Relax the rules on tourists using other currencies to pay for tourist services. Tourism is an export product and as such should be allowed to be priced in other currencies as long as payment is accepted in kwacha as well.
  6. Avoid abrupt policy changes without warning which disrupt pricing and other requirements leading to Zambia getting a reputation as an unreliable destination.
With thanks to those of my customers and friends who are in tourism.


  1. Good point Ms Henson. May I include the Zambian Government Website promoting more the tourist attractions on a Province by Province basis and also non-developed attractions/stories like the Great Kabwe Tree and the Great East Road to Katete and Malawi?

  2. I personally don't agree to position 1. The fees charged for entering into Zambia belong to the lowest in the world.
    The standards of most hotels in Zambia do not even deserve a star and the rates charged, be it the top hotels or not is a shame. Some tourists prefer to spend their nights across in Zim than in Zed ( Livingstone) for example.Why?
    A lot of tourists come on organized trips and the money remains outside Zambia, only a little for a bottle of coca cola remains in Zambia. How is the arrangement here between the tour operators and the Zambian government ?
    ( educate me on this one, I might be wrong)

  3. We should not compare visa fees we charge tourists with those charged by countries who do not need tourists and are trying to discourage immigrants. We want tourists to come. Tourists choose Zim mainly on cost (its cheaper) and also lower levels of hassle. Zim is cheaper because of the overvalued kwacha and Zambia being overburdened by licences and fees (and now unplanned wage increases). Organised trips may keep more of the income outside the country than independant travellers. However local employment still results as meals, transport and accommodation are needed by even tourists on organised trips.

  4. Another point to take into consideration is the amount of tax appropriated on the products that pique tourists' interest. If products contain a fair amount of tax, then more tourists would want to purchase from Zambia. If products will also be marketed online, it should as well should not suffer on so much tax. There must be a balance between what the country profits from the individual earning a living. If this is not achieved, soon, there will be less local business investors and country earnings from tax will not come as easy. Subsequently, a developing country arrested in its growth.


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