MINISTER of Tourism and Arts Ronald Chitotela has appointed new boards for the Zambia Tourism Agency and the Hostels Board of Management.

Board members for the Hostels Board management include Ministry Permanent Secretary Dr Auxilia Ponga, Brig Gen Fred Mulambo (Ret.), Col James K. Kunda (Ret.), Kambuyambangu, Kennedy Sinkamba and Kapasa and will be chaired by Pastor Emmanuel Mwewa.

Members announced for the Zambia Tourism Agency Board include, Dr Auxilia Ponga, Dr Pam Mulenga, PS Ministry of Finance (Budget and Economic Affairs), Dr Ed Chomba, PS Ministry of Local Government, Dr Denny Lungu; Director-General Immigration Department, Felin Nyanja; Jessy Simukoko; Irene Chipili from ZEMA; Dr WIlson Silungwe; Irene Mwansa, an entrepreneur; Zuze Tembo, another entrepreneur and will be chaired by Dr Tecla Ngwenya, who is the Tourism Council of Zambia chairperson.

Addressing the appointees, Chitotela urged the board members to ensure that they promote local tourism and ensure that the tourism marketing strategy was changed to focus on looking internally.

“There is no way, public institutions like Longacres [lodge], Belvedere Lodge cannot have standards that are attractive to the public. If Intercontinental Hotel can run a perfect facility, government, who are the main key drivers of policies that affect the private sector, we must be able to do better that, even the private sector begins to admire that which we are doing. This I must emphasize, the board members, who will be announced will have a mammoth task to make sure our institutions perform to the expectation of the Zambian people and the Zambian government. We will not interfere, but if things are not running properly, we will intervene,” cautioned Chitotela.

“If you are to change the fortunes of domestic tourism in Zambia, domestic tourism is the way forward. Those of you who will be announced, I want to appeal to you on behalf the government to help the Zambian people to change the perception of what people have about the tourism sector in Zambia as the most expensive one, the one that is foreign-dominant, the one people expect if you go to Livingstone, you will only find bazungu (caucasians), this is not to segregate, but critically analyzing and wanting to change the way we look at tourism. My appeal to those of you, who will be announced is, please, change your focus! Look internally. Before we start talking about regional, if Zambians appreciate what we have today, tourism marketing will become easier, then we can go regional and continental. There is no way we can afford to bring international tourists if we cannot manage and maintain our own domestic market, and the only way we can do that is by making sure that we change our marketing strategy, look internally.”