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

After attending a number of ceremonies and visiting several attractions across the country, ZTA Chief Executive Officer Mr. Chaila is convinced that more needs to be done in the area of Product development ‘if we are to add value to our 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 stake holder 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 s of people but the length of stay is usually short as the host towns go quite 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 stake holder meetings with the traditional leadership and local authorities: ‘Our meetings and FAM trips (to rural tourism sites) are meant to instigate locally constituted solutions’ Mr. Chaila said in an interview. Mr. Chaila who attended the 2016 edition of 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 Finance and Administration Mr. Stein Liyanda had led a separate team to Zambezi for the Likumbi lya Mize ceremony of the Luvale people with similar objectives: stake holder 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 Eastern province, Ncwala ceremony of the Ngoni, Shimunenga of the Ila people in Namwala -Southern Province and Kwanga of the Abena Ngumbo of Samfya in Luapula Province.

In all these, ZTA distributed promotional materials and did some branding but the overriding objective was to engage stake holders and tour sites. We call upon the business community to heed the CEO’s call and invest in rural areas so we can give people more reasons to attend our beautiful traditional ceremonies.

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