XENOPHOBIC violence in South Africa poses a serious threat to Zambia’s tourism growth, the Zambia Tourism Board has warned.
ZTB managing director Felix Chaila said tourist arrivals to Zambia through South Africa could dwindle due to continued cases xenophobic violence on foreign nationals resident in South Africa.
Mr Chaila warned that the happenings in South Africa which started in the resort city of Durban could have economic spill-over effects to Zambia’s tourism sector especially that there was no direct flight and most tourists use the South Africa route to get to Zambia.
Tourist arrivals from South Africa into Zambia stood at 191,048, followed by Tanzania with 184,187 and 87,048 from Zimbabwe in 2013.
“It is a negative issue in the sub-region because as you know South Africa is the largest destination and a source of international arrivals to Zambia. Tourists may decide to avoid South Africa and that is not good for Zambia’s tourism,” he said.
The statistics for 2013 indicated that South Africa was the leading source for international arrivals, accounting for around 20.1 per cent of the total arrivals for the year.
Mr Chaila said in an interview in Lusaka
yesterday that South Africa remained a key source for tourist arrivals into Zambia and the continued violence could trigger a sharp decline of tourism activities.
The Southern Africa region recorded total arrivals of just more than 22 million representing a market share of global arrivals of approximately 2.5 per cent and 39.9 per cent share of Africa’s total arrivals.
“It is difficult at the moment to state the impact in terms of percentages of the xenophobic attacks in South Africa but what I can say is that it is not good for the tourism industry in general,” he said.
The ZTB would continue to market Zambia as a tourist destination of choice to both the domestic and international markets.
TIMES OF ZAMBIA