CERTAINLY, the global focus will this year in August shift towards Zambia during an international tourism showpiece that will invariably compel local and international investors to scale up their enterprises in order to muster significant returns.
The benefits of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) General Assembly to be co-hosted in Livingstone and Victoria Falls town in Zimbabwe will accrue to the two nations and ultimately trickle down to ordinary citizens.
In Zambia, organisations and individuals must support preparations towards the global tourism event which will attract more than 4,000 delegates; this will be no mean feat!
During the tour of some facilities in Livingstone recently, the Ministerial committee on UNWTO noted that refurbishment of enlisted facilities has reached an advanced stage.
Some of the enlisted hotels and lodges are Zambezi Sun International, Royal Livingstone Hotel, Courtyard Hotel, Chrismar Hotel, Protea Hotel, David Livingstone Spar and Safari Lodge and Wasawange Lodge.
Others are Fallsway Lodge, Chapa Classic Lodge, Mosi-o-tunya executive lodge and Waterfront Lodge.
We are impressed that Livingstone General Hospital has also joined in the preparations by building capacity among medical personnel in trauma management.
The hospital has commenced training to sharpen skills in saving injured patients ahead of the global tourism summit.
Also inspiring is the fact that Livingstone General Hospital will work closely with the
Ministry of Health to ensure that quality health facilities are provided during the UNWTO General Assembly.
The tourist capital in particular will benefit in terms of infrastructure development as a modern market in the town centre is being constructed at a cost of KR28.5 million while an international bus terminus at Villa Grounds is in the offing to the tune of KR41.5 million.
Inyatsi Roads Zambia limited is rehabilitating 40 kilometres of selected urban roads in Livingstone valued at over KR118 million while police infrastructure is receiving a facelift.
With the foregoing, the media must disseminate accurate information about the arrangements of this global event.
It is important to note that tourism is among the critical sectors of the Zambian economy along side manufacturing, mining, agriculture, and construction.
In tourism, Zambia has natural as well as artificial spots, wildlife, and other attractive packages, which if well harnessed, could push national economic fortunes to higher and sustainable levels like other successful nations whose economies are driven by a well-nurtured tourism sector.
One of the prime factors identified in terms of selling tourism products abroad, is the need to aggressively market all the attractive spots, fauna and flora to realise the target of increasing inflows to over two million tourists by the end of the year.
The figure is projected to increase to 3.5 million tourist inflow per annum by 2015.
The Zambia Tourist Board (ZTB) and the Tourism Council of Zambia (TCZ) need to upscale their operations to remain on course as preparations for the UNWTO reach top-gear.
The country therefore has the potential to reach the global apex in terms of tourism development and this should be showcased during the UNWTO next year.
Industry players in critical sectors of the economy should take advantage of the event to market their products and form networks.