THE Government has launched a process which will lead to the creation of a new comprehensive tourism policy.
Launching the process in Lusaka yesterday, Tourism and Arts Minister Slyvia Masebo said there was need for the private sector and others to reflect on the challenges the tourism industry had been faced with in the previous administration.
She said there was need for the private sector and other stakeholdersto come up with a comprehensive policy for the tourism industry.
Ms Masebo said the creation of the policy was in the process but that there was need for that process to take into account the views of all stakeholders to ensure that no one was left behind.
She said the creation of the policy would take into account three sub sectors which include hospitality, tourism, arts and culture.
Ms Masebo was aware that the Zambia Wildlife Authority (ZAWA) policy needed a complete review as it had not achieved its intended purpose.
"That is why you as the private sector, communities and other Zambian citizens have a role to start reflecting on challenges that have affected the industry in the past decade," Ms Masebo said.
She said tourism was an important sector and that Zambia and other countries had realised this and that was why President Michael Sata decided to create the new ministry.
"We all know how rich this country is when it comes to culture, and yet for many years, we have failed to harness this for job creation," she said.
The minister said Zambia had an opportunity to harness the industry by coming up with a policy which would stand the test of time and ensure job creation in Zambia.
She said the Government would ensure traditional leaders, councils and stakeholders were consulted and understand the process before the draft document goes to Cabinet, adding that the process would be completed in three months.
Ms Masebo said the Government wanted to address the many challenges the industry had been facing in the past because they believe that the electorate elected the Partriotic Front (PF) based on what it said it would do in the tourism sector during the campaigns.
She said Government pledged that it would review the tourism policy and make the investment in the sector attractive and profitable for local and international investors.
The minister said the Government would repeal the ZAWA Act of 1998 and the Tourism Act and introduce a regulatory regime which fosters the development of the industry and harnesses employment of village scouts to ensure rural employment opportunities and incomes, among other promises.
She said the previous administration failed to make meaningful development in the country, thereby making Zambia the most expensive destination in the Southern African region.