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Zambia Tourism Agency calls for investment to complement traditional ceremonies

Zambia Tourism Agency calls for investment to complement traditional ceremonies

The Zambia Tourism Agency (ZTA) has called upon the business community to invest in rural areas to complement traditional ceremonies.

After attending a number of ceremonies and visiting several attractions across the country. ZTA Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Felix Chaila, is convinced that more needs to be done in the area of product development “if we are to add value to traditional ceremonies.”

“We have fantastic and unique traditional ceremonies such as Ukusefya pa ngwena, Ncwala, Likumbi lya Mize, Kulamba, Kuomboka, Mutomboko, Shimunenga, and many more. But the challenge is often inadequate supportive infrastructure, especially accommodation and catering facilities,” said Mr. Chaila in an interview.

Mr. Chaila added that ZTA’s focus on traditional ceremonies has shifted from merely promoting and attending traditional ceremonies to stakeholder engagement in infrastructure development and tour packaging. The CEO says ZTA has often found it challenging to promote products that are not well developed. He says Zambian traditional ceremonies always attract thousands of people, the length of stay is usually short, as the host towns go quiet soon after a ceremony has ended.

In 2017, ZTA intends to intensify its lobbying strategy and give input regarding the development of rural destinations in which these ceremonies are held through stakeholder meetings with traditional leadership and local authorities.

“Our meetings and FAM trips (to rural tourism sites) are meant to instigate locally-constituted solutions,” Mr. Chaila said.

Mr. Chaila, who attended the 2016 edition of the Ukusefya pa ngwena ceremony in Mungwi, could not resist the hypnotizing power of Bemba traditional music and was seen joining a group of foreign tourists on the dance floor.

Earlier in the year (August), ZTA Director of Finance and Board Secretary, Mr. Stein Liyanda, had let a separate team to Zambezi for the Likumbi lya Mize ceremony of the Luvale people with similar objectives: stakeholder engagement and touring of other sites in the province that included the Chinyingi Bridge as well as the source of the mighty Zambezi River (from which Zambia gets its name).

Other ceremonies attended include: Kulamba of the Chewa in the eastern province (led by the Director of Marketing, Mr. Mwabashike Nkulukusa), Ncwala ceremony of the Ngoni, Shimunenga of the Ila people in the Namwala southern province, and Kwanga of the Abena Ngumbo of Samifya in the Luapula province.

In all of these, ZTA distributed promotional materials and did some branding, but the overriding objective was to engage stakeholders and tour sites.

ZTA is calling upon the business community to heed the CEO’s call and invest in rural areas so it can give people more reasons to attend the beautiful traditional ceremonies of Zambia.

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