The Zambia Tourism Board has announced it will launch a new tourism brand by the end of the first quarter of this year. The goal of this initiative is to increase annual tourist visits to Zambia from about 810,000 in 2009 to 3 million by the end of 2017. Donald Pelekamoyo, ZTB Tourism Promotion Manager, says the re-branding will comprise the development of a new strapline for Zambian tourism, as well as a new logo to go with the new strapline. He says: “We aim to come up with a destination brand that represents the core essence and consistent characteristics of Zambia.”
Pelekamoyo says the development of the new brand will take into account Zambia’s core market segments, the results of consumer research conducted by Cornell University, the country’s current competitive position, wide stakeholder consultation, continuous communication with players in the tourism industry as well as the advocacy of the adoption of the new brand by all of Zambia’s commercial and other stakeholders.
Pelekamoyo explains that ZTB has been working closely with Cornell University, which has conducted comprehensive qualitative research into the market. The Cornell team surveyed American, British, Asian and South African citizens to gauge perceptions of Zambia. Robert Kwortnik, Associate Professor of Service Marketing at Cornell, says: “The obvious conclusion was that there is a complete lack of brand awareness. Zambia is simply unknown.”
Danalee May from Born Free Safaris in the US, confirms that Zambia is not a very well known tourism destination for US travellers. She says: “Unfortunately Zambia is not a popular destination in the US market unless the traveller has a savvy agent. The US traveller does not seem to be as aware of Zambia as they are of Zimbabwe or South Africa. I attribute this to Zambia not getting any media attention, as they are stable with no political upheaval.” May further explains that once Zambia is mentioned to prospective travellers and they research it a little they usually book it.
The travel industry welcomes Zambia’s efforts to obtain more exposure. John Ridler, Media & PR Manager Thompsons Holidays, says: “Any initiative by a tourism office to make their respective countries more appealing to the potential tourist is of enormous benefit to us in the travel industry as it backs up our marketing and advertising initiatives.”
Pelekamoyo is confident the new brand will have a positive effect on the country’s tourism numbers. “We expect that the new brand will refresh and create positive perceptions of Zambian tourism and repair any negative perceptions that may have been created by the current brand of ‘The Real Africa’.” Pelekamoyo says the costs related to the rebranding have been absorbed through various services and expertise that have been provided by various stakeholders, which include the Tourism Council of Zambia as well as the World Bank.”
The picture? The mighty Victoria Falls of course, just 10kms away from Chanters Lodge, Livingstone