LUSAKA, November 13, 2013 – The Minister of Tourism and Arts, Ms. Sylvia Masebo today launched the new World Bank Tourism in Africa Report, “Harnessing Tourism for Growth and Improved Livelihoods” at a colorful ceremony. The report provides strategies for Sub-Saharan African (SSA) countries to maximize the economic power of the tourism industry to increase growth and improve livelihoods through public and private sector efforts.
In 2012, Africa attracted 33.8 million visitors from a small base of just 6.7 million in 1990, and receipts from tourism for the same year amounted to over US$36 billion and directly contributed 2.8% to the region’s GDP. During the same year the tourism sector created an estimated 5.5 million direct jobs across the continent. In Zambia, direct employment for tourism in 2012 was 25,000 as estimated by WTTC. Direct and indirect employment in the sector is totals more than 67,000 as a result of tourism.
The Report examines the potential of all SSA countries to determine the best strategies for them to leverage the tourism sector for economic growth and job creation. It emphasizes that 33 SSA countries have the capacity for tourism success given strong political support for tourism development and smart policy creation.
Officially launching the Report in Zambia, the Minister of Tourism and Arts, Ms. Sylvia Masebo said, “Our desire as a government is to create a positive investment climate for tourism development. A climate which will not only diversify the sector but also ensure that its growth is broad based to improve the livelihood of our people, particularly in the rural areas where poverty has reached unacceptable levels. We want a tourism sector that will not only change their lives for the better but also one that protects communities and their environments.”
She said her ministry is ready to tackle a number of huddles that are standing in the way of moving forward in the development of tourism. She pointed out the huddles as visa facilitation, yellow fever requirement, and aviation liberalization among others. The Minister went on to say that, “Zambia is endowed with a vast array of underdeveloped natural and cultural resources waiting to be explored for investment. Our policy makers should therefore study the Report with commitment and passion in order to help our tourism sector reach its potential quickly”
The report comprehensively examines tourism in Sub-Saharan Africa at a regional level and then recommends practical evidence-based measures that could create an economic transformation by leveraging the tourism industry to help create jobs, reduce poverty, diversify economies and foster shared prosperity.
With an analysis of 24 tourism case studies from around the world, the report is a valuable and timely contribution to efforts to build a framework for sustainable tourism in Africa. It also identifies policies and institutional approaches for African countries to make their tourism industry more competitive and attractive to investors.
The World Bank Country Director for Zambia, Malawi and Zimbabwe, Kundhavi Kadiresan, told the attendees that there is a new level of energy in the world of tourism that is taking place both at home and abroad. At home there is a determination to build on the success of hosting the UNWTO conference. Abroad there is a huge interest by the Private Sector on the international market to help build the tourism sector in Africa. “Zambia should seize the moment and leverage its tourism potential,” she said.
The untapped potential of tourism is enormous, the report notes. SSA has abundant tourism resources. It has expansive beaches, plentiful wildlife, and extensive nature, culture, and adventure opportunities. As disposable incomes increase, domestic travel for leisure is expected to rise as effective planning and development are accelerated and sustained.