Mark Storella

From : Postzambia.com

By : Edwin Mbulo

24 May 2012

THE United States government will help strengthen investment relationships in the tourism sector, says US Ambassador to Zambia Mark Storella.

And Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and Tourism Dr Effron Lungu says the American market remains key for Zambia which is committed to grow its tourist arrivals.

Speaking in Livingstone after attending the American Tourism Association (ATA) congress in Victoria Falls Town in Zimbabwe, Ambassador Storella said there was need to increase investment in the tourism sector to raise the levels of facilities such as lodges, restaurants and hotels.

“The congress is trying to generate interest especially among Americans in visiting Africa, to visit Zimbabwe and Zambia. I was on the panel discussing how the US government can help support the tourism sector in Africa and support investment in lodges and hotels. We want to strengthen this relationship,” Ambassador Storella said.

He said Zambia needed to market the tourism assets because some people in the world did not know where the Victoria Falls was.

“Some people think the Victoria Falls is in Canada; Zambia could do more in the tourism sector through marketing,” said Ambassador Storella.

And speaking at Chrismar Hotel when he received over 300 ATA delegates who had a rare opportunity to cross into Zambia without undergoing immigration formalities, Dr Lungu said ATA could play an important role to grow tourism in Africa.

“This is very pronounced in the ATA objectives which state that ATA is to promote the tourism attractions of the African continent and to educate travel agents and sensitise companies about the products and services offered by Africa’s tourism industry and help identify new tourism products for the benefit of local populations and the international industry,” Dr Lungu said.

And Zambia Tourism Board managing director Vincent Chaila said the launch of Dutch airline KLM will help reduce air fares and grow tourism arrivals.

Chaila said South African Express was due to start operating the Durban-Lusaka route and ZTB would engage them to service Livingstone as well.

Livingstone Tourism Association chairperson Kingsley Lilamono said the tourism sector lacked adequate marketing of the available products.