“The Consumer Diaries is a Zambian consumer’s mouthpiece written strictly by consumers for other consumers. It contains a compilation of reviews and comparisons of consumer products and services based on reporting and results from consumers themselves. This is done in order to help people have an opportunity to rate product/service experiences that they have had, and also to investigate new products or services in order to make informed decisions.”
Wish them the best of luck!
The picture? A bottle of Zambia’s great Mosi beer – currently unavailable from distributors in Livingstone, Zambia.
I liked a piece by Beth Kormanik on Hotel Interactive I’ve edited quite a lot of it and added my comments specifically for Zambia at the end.
“As the continent of Africa realizes new heights with global tourism – bolstered by the FIFA World Cup in South Africa last year – new facts and figures are telling the story of a continued growth in 2011. Key issues such as difficulty in crossing borders and concerns over security, though, are stalling that growth.
Tourist arrivals to Africa in 2010 reached 940 million, an increase of 6.6 percent compared with 2009. North Africa is the biggest draw, thanks to Egypt, with 29.7 million arrivals that accounted for $21.7 million in receipts. The figures were among those in just-published State of Tourism in Africa, a report sponsored by the World Bank, the Africa Travel Association and New York University’s Africa House.
“It seems there is room for us to be optimistic,” said Fatou Mas-Jobe Njie, Minister of Tourism and Culture for the Republic of The Gambia and president of the Africa Travel Association, which held its sixth annual Presidential Forum on Tourism Tuesday in New York. While travel and tourism hold the promise of growing GDP, creating jobs and encouraging sustainable development, the current reality is of low consumer confidence and investment.
“Still, we need to caution our optimism as uncertainty still remains,” she said. “We cannot ignore what happened to the tourism industries of Egypt and Tunisia after the shocks of political change.The reality is that the possibility of growth and development are not yet fully recognized or realized in Africa’s political corridors. That’s why ATA has a critical role to play. ATA can help raise awareness of the importance of the industry among decision makers and across the general public in Africa.”
First, though, African countries need to resolve long-standing issues that hamper travel, such as the difficulty crossing borders, according to Nigel Vere Nicoll, managing director of Advancing Tourism to Africa. “Why is it that the border between Kenya and Tanzania is impossible to cross?” he asked. “The two parties just don’t talk to each other. It doesn’t make sense.”
Ezekiel Maige, Tanzania’s Minister of Natural Resources and Tourism, said the two countries have issues over border security and also of a fair distribution of tourist dollars. “We are discussing in the region how we can sort out these problems,” he said. “The assurance I’ll give here is we’ve reached a very good stage.”
David Scowsill, president and CEO of The World Travel and Tourism Council, pointed out that air service agreements in Africa are terribly outdated – many in East Africa still operate under rules developed at the Chicago Convention in 1944. Travel across borders within Africa remains difficult. “I suspect our predecessors were having similar conversations 10, 15, 20 years ago,” Scowsill said. “We’re not working fast enough.” Being a tourism minister is a lonely place to be.The focus on travel and tourism and what it does for job creation and wealth creation overall is an agenda that is only going to be driven by the president of a country. If we could find two, three or four visionary African presidents who really understand the power of travel and tourism and are prepared collectively to move things and change things, to open the skies and to have common visas things would happen, without that, I can’t see anything changing very quickly.”
Another challenge is marketing Africa as a safe and desirable location, according to Gregg Truman, vice president of sales and marketing for South African Airways.
“If Africa wants to be recognized it must be willing to spend resources in marketing the destination,” he said. “That’s what we don’t do well most of the time. Yet we have beautiful scenery, a lot of cultural tourism, eco-tourism. We have diverse products that people can learn from and enjoy”
In Zambia’s case:
I should think our new Minister of Information, Broadcasting and Tourism, Given Lubinda and President Michael Sata are very busy with other things, but the sentence I’ve highlighted above about tourism needing to be presidentially driven bears thinking about!
The ATA has been around for a long time, I’m not sure how much they’ve really done for tourism in this country.
Recommendations for Zambia: 1. Re-introduce the successful visa waiver scheme for bona fide tourists with advance reservations.
2. Allocate a good budget to Zambia Tourist Board for overseas marketing in Europe and USA.
3. Improve tax incentives and concessions for the hospitality and travel industries in order to stabilize prices and to change the perception of Zambia being an expensive destination.
4. Improve air (and road) links between the different tourist destinations within Zambia and surrounding countries and encourage competition to reduce air fares.
5. Make the Victoria Falls accessible to tourists from both sides of the border without visas and immigration formalities. (Dreams division)
The photo? Victoria Falls – the Zimbabwe side for a change!
“Emirates is launching flights to two new African destinations from February next year. The airline will be offering five flights per week from Dubai to Lusaka, the capital of Zambia, and Harare, the capital of Zimbabwe, from 1st February 2012.
Travellers visiting Zambia or Zimbabwe with Emirates will be within easy reach of Victoria Falls- the largest waterfall in the world. Labelled a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Victoria Falls is 1.7km wide and cascades over 100 metres. Both destinations also have world-class national safari parks for any travellers wishing to observe some African wildlife.
Passengers travelling with Emirates to Zambia and Zimbabwe will be able to experience Emirates’ luxurious First and Business Class cabins. The A330-200 operating the route has a three-class configuration with 12 First Class seats, 42 Business Class seats and 183 Economy seats. Guests in all classes of travel will enjoy meals prepared by gourmet chefs, as well as hundreds of channels of entertainment and the facility to send and receive emails and text messages.
“Emirates has long understood the enormous potential of Africa, which today is one of the fastest-expanding economic regions of the world, benefitting from a combined market of over one billion people, rising consumer demand and an abundance of natural resources,” said His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al-Maktoum, Chairman and Chief Executive, Emirates Airline & Group.
“Zambia and Zimbabwe will be our 20th and 21st African destinations and their addition to our global network will enable us to provide new flexibility and choice for customers, help to grow trade routes and create important new inbound and outbound markets for tourism,” added His Highness.”
Now, all we need is a direct flight from Europe to Livingstone. Come on!
Here’s an interesting piece by Wendell Roelf that I saw on Reuters concerning the expected expansion of the hotel business in Africa. The picture is InterContinental in Lusaka.
Global hotel chains are poised to spend hundreds of millions of dollars in Africa over the next few years to meet increased demand from both international tourists and the continent’s own fast-emerging middle class. Africa was the only region in the world to show growth in tourism in 2009, according to the World Tourism Organisation. In 2010 international arrivals rose by 6 percent to 49 million, slower than Asia or the Americas but double the growth rate for Europe.
Industry executives say that as consumer spending stalls in developed markets, more multinationals are betting Africa’s growth will eventually translate into meaningful revenue — if they can negotiate the considerable regulatory and infrastructure challenges of doing business there. InterContinental Hotel Group, Accor, Starwood and Rezidor Hotel Group, the group that operates the Radisson Blu chain, are among those looking to capitalise on the continent’s urbanisation and build up its underdeveloped hotel industry.
“In the last 48 months we’ve added 33 hotels — some already opened and others under development — to the African continent,” Andrew McLachlan, Rezidor’s vice-president for business development Africa and Indian Ocean islands, told Reuters in an interview in Cape Town, one of the continent’s tourism hot spots. “If we don’t have any curve balls, we should open another eight hotels in 12 months across five countries,” he said, adding that almost all of developments were being undertaken by local owners.
Among the projects planned was a $40 million Radisson Blu upscale hotel in the Mozambican capital of Maputo and a 120-room 300 million rand ($42 million) lodge in South Africa’s Kruger National Park, expected to open in 2013.
“When looking for growth it’s only natural to look at Africa, (which is) not as badly affected by a slowdown. There is potential for higher growth for hotels here than in traditional markets,” said Martin Jansen van Vuuren, a director at consultancy Grant Thornton Strategic Solutions.
Sub-Saharan Africa’s economies are expected to grow at an average of 5.5 percent in 2011 and just under 6 percent in 2012, according to the IMF. While that’s still short of China’s blistering pace of expansion, it handily outpaces most of the developed world.
“We consider that there are a large number of capital cities in this continent where we either have no representation or insufficient, and if you ask me what my objective is for the next five years, it is to begin to redress that imbalance,” said Michael Cooper, InterContinental’s vice-president development for sub-Saharan Africa.
Encouraged by the economic and political outlook, InterContinental is looking for opportunities in Cape Town, Dar Es Salaam and Addis Ababa as well as Africa’s west coast, Cooper said. IHG is currently building three new luxury InterContinental hotels in Kampala, Luanda and Lagos.
But expansion in the world’s poorest continent does not come easy. Many of the hotel developments come up against the ubiquitous challenges of infrastructure constraints, corruption and regulatory hurdles, which combine to cause higher costs and lengthy delays. In the Angolan capital of Luanda — the world’s most expensive city — Rezidor is expecting to import everything except cement for its flagship Radisson Blu, already delayed for 15 months after local authorities decided to build a road through the site after initial plans were agreed, McLachlan said.
“Sometimes, even when you are a city centre hotel, you’ve got to design your hotel as if it was on an island with your own water purification, sewage plant, and even generate your own electricity.”
Yup! That’s about it!
This piece from Times of Zambia caught my attention: The investors say they’d like to use the old Zambia Airways logo and in a blast from the past there’s a photo of one of the old airline’s planes clearly showing the much loved logo. Most people felt it was a great mistake to allow the airline to go out of business in the 90’s.
A GROUP of investors from South Africa and Zambia have formed a partnership and staked about K105 billion for a new national airline called Fly Zambia Airline which will be launched in September this year. The company is in consultation with the Government on the possibility of adopting the logo which was previously used by the defunct Zambia Airways.
Fly Zambia Airline Limited chief executive officer Theunis Crous said his company was in discussion with the Government to allow the firm use the Zambia Airways flag and logo on their Fokker aircraft. The defunct Zambia Airways was founded in 1964 as a subsidiary of Central African Airways, but went into liquidation in 1995.
In an interview in Lusaka, Mr Crous explained that the establishment of a national airline was a private initiative hence would be managed by experienced Zambian and South African team.
Mr Crous said the airline would use the Fokker 100 and Fokker 50 aircraft which have low operational costs. “We will start with four aircraft, two of which are Fokker 100 and the other two will be Fokker 50 including a cargo aircraft. We will do a lot of training of the staff in the aviation sector because our planes will be landing in Zambia for the first time and they need to be shown how they operate,” Mr Crous said. He said the airline would initially start with local and regional routes before expanding its routes internationally.
The regional routes include Zambabwe, Angola, South Africa and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). “The firm will also service the domestic market and will set up a car hire company linked directly to the airline,” Mr Crous said. He said as a result of the investment, the airline would create 150 jobs for the local people.
Mr Crous said the introduction of the national airline in Zambia would give the local people the glory of having their own national airline. He said they would use the airline to attract tourists because tourism was a fast-growing industry. “The tourism industry has the potential to even grow and we shall aim to promote tourism from within the region and make Zambia the best destination by providing the services through our airline,” Mr Crous said. He said due to improved macroeconomic indicators and attractive investment incentive, the airline was able to invest in the aviation sector.
Mr Crous commended the Zambian Government for its continued efforts in enhancing the business environment for the private sector to invest in Zambia.
Did you know this? (From: Helium.com)
Zambia, a central landlocked African country, now supplies to the international market a substantial range of fine gemstones, in particular emeralds, aquamarines and other beryls, tourmalines and amethyst. Zambia rates after Colombia and Brazil as a major supplier of emeralds, some being cut locally and also in Israel.
The emeralds are a fine grassy green color usually lacking any blue tint, they often contain wispy inclusions and may be treated with a colorless oil. Prices (Net dealers, wholesale) vary according to color, clarity, cut and carat weight, as is always the case, and for 0.2 to 0.5 carats are in the range US $200 to $450/carat. Scarcity increases as size increases, together with the price and for 3 to 10 carat size top quality Zambian emeralds this ranges from $2000/carat, up to $20,000/carat for exceptional gems. Mostly they come from the Miku, Kamakanga and Kagem mines located in the NE of the country.
As long time Customers of AfriConnect this from LusakaTimes caught my eye:
AfriConnect Commercial Director Ian Ferrao said in Lusaka that the commissioning of the Tanzania fibre route makes AfriConnect Zambia, the first Internet Service Provider ISP in Zambia to have multiple fibre routes. Mr. Ferrao also announced that the company has commissioned 155 mbps of high speed international fibre bandwidth on the network.
At the launch of its new SMT-1 Package in Lusaka, Mr. Ferrao announced “The launch of this service now means our speeds are faster than ever, with low latency to the internet for all customers”. Mr. Ferrao added that AfriConnect has upgraded its back up capacity to have better protection against fibre cuts and maintenance downtimes.
He said several months after connecting its fibre directly to South Africa offering less than 100 ms latency; customers have experienced faster general internet browsing, video conferencing and internet banking. And commenting on the company’s expansion programme, Mr. Ferrao said AfriConnect is expanding to Chililabombwe, Mufulira and Luanshya on the Copperbelt Province and Chirundu in the Southern province.
He said under the expansion programme, some towns will have base stations while others will have technical support stations. He said the towns on the Copperbelt will fall under the Copperbelt hub in Kitwe which now has engineers present to offer support to all its iConnect customers.
Note the lack of mention of anywhere called Livingstone despite the fact that it is the ‘tourist capital’.
Wouldn’t it be nice if just a fraction of the World Bank money (below) was spent on Obote Avenue (above), the road to Chanters Lodge from Mosi o Tunya road? But I’m not holding my breath! Luckily only about 750 metres effects us.
The World Bank has released US$75 million to Zambia’s road sector, the first cash injection after the bank and other cooperating partners suspended funding to the sector last year following allegations of corruption. World Bank country manager Kapil Kapoor said in a recent interview that the cooperating partners were satisfied with the measures that had been put together by President Rupiah Banda’s Government to stop corruption.
The donors to the sector last year announced a decision to withhold funding and accused the Road Development Agency of corrupt practices. They cited the auditor general’s report which indicated that the agency had overcommitted the Government to more than K1 trillion. Dr Kapoor said stakeholders engaged in talks with the Government and were satisfied that the sector would perform to their expectation.
He said the Government had worked hard to ensure that all the concerns raised by the donor community were addressed. He said the $75 million was an allocation for this year. He dismissed reports that the World Bank attached rigid and unfriendly conditions to its aid, saying it only insisted that the money it released should be used for intended purposes. Dr Kapoor said the Government had been exemplary in managing the affairs of the nation with sustained economic growth.
Is there oil in Zambia – for one I hope not, it seems to bring nothing but trouble to the African countries that have it. Anyway I guess we’ll soon find out, according to OilVoice
Frontier Resources International, Plc has been awarded Petroleum Exploration Block 34 by the Zambian Ministry of Mines and Minerals Development. The Block, covering 6400 square kilometers, is located in the Kafue Trough approximately 150 kilometers southwest of the capital Lusaka. This area has had no previous hydrocarbon exploration and may form a part of the southwestern extension of the productive East African rift system.
The Company plans to immediately proceed with the completion of the licence application process which will include the opening of a local office in Lusaka. This is Frontier’s first exploration acreage in the southern African region where it plans to pursue additional opportunities. The Company’s existing oil and gas producing properties are onshore Texas.