Government says the 100 million United States dollars World Bank funded tourism project in Zambia will enhance the country’s tourism agenda for social-economic development.
Acting Assistant Director of Tourism, Chilala Habasimbi, says the Government is in the process of implementing the Zambia Green, Resilient and Transformation Tourism Development Project (GREAT-TDP) with support from the World Bank.
Ms Habasimbi said the project which has begun its preparatory phase has considered to develop three sites namely Liuwa Plain National Park, Kasaba bay and source of the Zambezi river in a bid to boost tourism.
She said the project will support tourism development through a holistic and integrated approach which shall include an enabling infrastructure development, policy to unlock investment, management of habitat and support to surrounding communities.
“In Liuwa, the aim of the project is to link the identified tourism areas to the already developed tourism sites such as the southern circuit for impact and results,” she said.
Ms Habasimbi said this in Kalabo district when she led a joint team of specialists from Ministry of Finance and National Planning as well as Ministry of Tourism and Arts during a stakeholders’ consultation meeting ahead of the implementation which is scheduled to take five years.
She noted that the project is part of government’s vision to develop the Western as well as Northern tourism circuits through infrastructure development.
“This will increase the length of stay of tourists and stimulate social-economic development,” she said.
And Kalabo District Commissioner, Musangu Njamba said President Hakainde Hichilema is committed to delivering on the campaign promises the New Dawn Government assured Zambians without leaving anyone behind.
Mr Njamba expressed optimism that the World Bank funded tourism project would promote Liuwa Plain National Park to local residents and Zambian citizens at large so that they visit the landscape and enjoy the wonderful wildlife heritage.
“The tourism project being coordinated by Ministry of Finance and National Planning will play a critical role in continuing to grow the tourism sector and stimulate economic activities,” he said.
The District Commissioner added that the project would create jobs in and around Liuwa, Kalabo district and Zambia at large.
He however bemoaned that poor infrastructure in Liuwa has resulted in inaccessibility and limited accommodation for tourists.
Meanwhile, Kalabo Town Council Chairperson, David Nyundu said there was need for the tourism project to empower locals with adequate resources for them to establish themselves and take a pivotal role in various tourism ventures, including offering safari and tour guide services.
The stakeholders have since proposed the refurbishment of Kalabo airstrip and construction of a bridge across Luanginga river into Liuwa Plain National Park.
Other projects include a ring road to enhance accessibility into the park, accommodation to attract and service the tourist clientele as well as livelihood interventions.
And Liuwa Park Manager, Deon Joubert said the park is an emerging tourism hotspot whose expanse of grassy plain annually hosts one of nature’s greatest spectacles and Africa’s second largest migration of Wildebeest.
Mr Joubert added that the park is one of the finest leisure resorts and offers panoramic views over the vast, untouched and grassy landscape.
“Our focus is to continue to grow tourism in Liuwa Plain National Park, provide security to communities and wildlife in line with the General Management Plan (GMP), Land Use Plan (LUP) and Predator Management Plan,” he said.
Mr Joubert stated that Liuwa was transforming into an eco-tourism hub driven by community and conservation-based safaris.
Liuwa Plain National Park is an emerging tourism hotspot whose panoramic expanse of grassy plain annually hosts one of nature’s greatest spectacles and Africa’s second largest Wildebeest migration where more than 30,000 wildebeests move across the landscape from south to north-west and vice versa in an orderly fashion.
The sanctuary further boasts of hosting a variety of key animal species, over 300 bird species and the co-existence of human beings alongside wildlife.