TOURISM and Arts Minister, Silvia Masebo says Government will work closely with the people of Livingstone in pushing for Domestic Tourism ahead of hosting the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) General Assembly next year.
And Ms Masebo has said that Government was in the process of identifying contractors to build a hosting centre for the 20th session of the UNWTO General Conference in the tourist capital.
Ms Masebo said at a media briefing yesterday that it was cardinal for the Zambians to get maximum benefit from the highly international event by raising income from the local products such as art craft, among others.
She, however, said her ministry had the challenge of ferrying people to the event and has called for public and private sector involvement in preparing for the event which is expected to benefit the country.
"Livingstone as a tourist capital need to do a lot in bringing it to that level and the public and private sector should get involved in the preparation to gain income," she said.
She said more needed to be done to improve roads, street lighting, garbage collection, and lodging facilities for the 4,000 delegates expected for the conference.
Ms Masebo called on the media to help market the event from the initial stage for Zambia to drive more benefits.
Zambia is co-hosting the event with Zimbabwe next year.
"We are going to work with the media in preparing for the conference because we believe the media can market the event better and help the country gain income from it," she said.
She urged Zambians to be positive and proud for the rare opportunity of hosting the World Tourism conference by being fully engaged in the preparations.
On May 29 this year, President Michael Sata and his Zimbabwean Counterpart, Robert Mugabe signed a Memorandum of Understanding to endorse the co-hosting of the conference.
Meanwhile, speaking later on arrival at Harry Mwaanga Nkumbula International Airport in Livingstone, Ms Masebo urged the Livingstone City Council and other stakeholders to take advantage of the hosting of the UNWTO General Assembly to improve infrastructure in Zambia's tourist capital.
Ms Masebo said the hosting of the UNWTO General Assembly was a grand opportunity for the Council and the District Commissioner's office to enhance infrastructure development in the city.
Former Zambia Tourism Board (ZTB) chairperson, Errol Hickey urged the hospitality industry to come up with services of international standards ahead of the assembly.