President Edgar Lungu says there is need to consider the aspect of climate change effects on wildlife as Zambia endeavours to promote tourism.

And President Lungu has asked the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) to help in training local entrepreneurs so that they can learn the best practices and approach in the sector.

Speaking when UNWTO Secretary General Ambassador Zurab Pololikashvili paid a courtesy call on him at State House, Tuesday, President Lungu called for collaboration in interrogating the human – animal conflict in areas where the country had wildlife.

“We are obliged to have you here and we wish to assure you that tourism is one sector in our economic activities, which we cherish and we want to continue because Zambia has the potential to develop this sector. With your support, I am sure we can do much more in the area of tourism. As you go into Luangwa, I am sure you will see much more in terms of what we are doing. We think this should be a fact-finding mission to see where we can do better because best practices are known by those who travel the globe, and your organization has the benefit of criss-crossing the globe in terms of tourism and knowing those who’ve got the best practices. Climate change also has an effect on tourism, as you very well know, and so we should take that on board and promote our tourism. In some areas where we have wildlife attraction, animals were affected adversely by climate change effects, and I think we need to put our heads together to see how we can help those animals,” President Lungu said.

“Indeed, another area of interest, of course, to interrogate with you is human – animal conflict in areas where we have wildlife, how do we manage this? We have recently been having meetings in Zimbabwe and another one in Botswana, all in an effort to see how tourism can be brought to the fore to benefit local people. So, this move is really a very welcome one, so please feel at home. All these are issues we should begin interrogating… through this organization of yours, we are able to get best practices. There are a lot of reasons we think that you have come at the right time. We have just changed ministers recently, but the incoming minister will be briefed as much as possible to be able to take the role of working with you. So, take that as assurance coming from me.”

And the Head of State asked Ambassador Pololikashvili to help out in empowering local entrepreneurs with skills in the area of tourism.

“We are calling for more investment in the tourism sector. But again, we need to train our local entrepreneurs so that they can get the best practices and approach so that they are competitive. So, through UNWTO, I am sure that opportunities will be made available and as we continue collaborating, we will be able to have the sector grow. So, be assured of our total support and the prominence of the sector. Other countries have thrived in the tourism sector, so why can’t Zambia make a living out of tourism? Aside from copper, I think we can also thrive in this sector of tourism,” said President Lungu.

Meanwhile, Ambassador Pololikashvili pledged the UNWTO’s support to the growth of the Zambian tourism sector, adding that the transferring of Ronald Chitotela to the Tourism Ministry would make things easier for them.

“I think it’s very important that the [new] Minister of Tourism has experience in infrastructure because you are doing quite well in a lot of projects; investing in infrastructure, investing in tourism and we saw the Airport yesterday. And even all he resources Zambia has like nature, national parks and culture, we want to use all this for sustainable development. We want to collaborate to create long-term projects to attract much more than one million [people] for the fantastic and beauty of the country that you have, and I am sure that connectivity is another important issue. I know you are supporting the project of a domestic airline to support the Zambian national airline to develop, that will be another big success for Africa, and I am sure that Zambia Airways will be one of the most competitive companies. We want to support entrepreneurs, we are doing a lot of things to support them so that they can be able to show the world what you have here,” said Ambassador Pololikashvili.