ZAMBIA has received overwhelming response from prospecting tourists and tour operators after successfully concluding the 2012 World Travel Market (WTM) expo in London.
WTM came to an end on Saturday with industry players calling on governments to institute reforms in the visa processing systems in order to reduce encumbrances in global tourism.
Press Secretary at the Zambian High Commission in the United Kingdom, Amos Chanda said most tour operators who visited the Zambia Tourism Board (ZTB) stand expressed interest in the Zambian tourism brand.
The expo was held at the Excel Centre in London where the Zambian delegation was led by Tourism and Arts Deputy Minister David Phiri.
Mr Phiri said he was impressed with ZTB performance and urged the board to enter the market much earlier next year so that the country could build momentum ahead of the show.
He said Zambia had learnt critical lessons from the 2012 London Indaba, especially from tour operators' sentiment over issues of connectivity and visa procedures.
"We have learnt the lessons and we have listened to all the views from a cross section of participants such as tour operators, other tourism promotions agencies and competitors as well," he said.
He said Zambia needed efficient connectivity because it was essential and was the core of tourism development.
Mr Phiri said the Zambian delegation informed the market that major incentives had been introduced in the 2013 national Budget, especially the five-year tax-free provision.
The deputy minister said the tourism sector was key to the new Government's policy of job creation.
"We intend to create 300,000 jobs in the tourism sector and this is the most critical component of the overall economic plan. Our Government, the PF Government is looking at tourism as the frontline economic sector," he said.
ZTB managing director Felix Chaila said Zambia's exposure to the WTM, the second largest global market after the expo that takes place in Germany, had empowered the board with greater marketing skills and insights to drive the sector to greater heights.
ZTB came along with 10 local tour operators who had made business contacts during the four days of the London market expo.
"The tour operators are generally happy with the exposure and they are also helping us identify negative sentiments that we need to act upon to improve the sector," Mr Chaila said.
He said the three most critical hindrances to the successful marketing of Zambian tourism are
yellow fever certificate that South Africa imposes on tourists passing through the country to and from Zambia and delays in immigration formalities regarding the processing visas for tourists.
The other is the ban on Zambian aircraft flying in the European Union skyline.