THE tourism and arts sectors are closely intertwined, and harnessing their synergies offers the promise of growing the country’s gross domestic product (GDP).The key to this is the need for government and the private sector to continue to strengthen their partnership to exploit these economic activities.
In the last four years, the tourism industry has grown by an average of 3.5 percent. According to recent data from the Zambia Central Statistical Office (CSO), the travel and tourism industry currently contributes 5.6 percent to national GDP.
Government, through the Seventh National Development Plan (7NDP), has identified tourism as one of the priority sectors due to its numerous backward and forward linkages to other sectors of the economy. Tourism expenditure cuts across the entire spectrum of the economy through its multiplier effects. As a result, the state has been pushing to entice more private stakeholders to supplement its efforts to develop the industry by aligning their investments with the vision and sector growth targets it has set.
This was particularly apparent recently when the Zambia Tourism Agency hosted the Zambia Travel Expo (ZATEX) to bring stakeholders together to promote tourism.
Zambia is endowed with a lot of talent in the arts; from inspired crafts, magnificent paintings, fantastic graffiti arts, exquisite fashion designing, and a rich cultural blend to authentic theatre, film and music in general – the country seems to have it all.
It’s a reason for tourists to visit our country, while the growth of international and domestic tourism supports greater investment in the arts.
For Zambian policymakers looking for sustainable sources of economic growth tourism and arts has proven to be a good option. If properly man-aged and incentivised, the private sector could contribute to greater economic benefit and poverty alleviation.
The tourism and arts industry are an activity-driven industry and Zambian Breweries has been among the key private stakeholders in implementing and initiating constructive activities to develop these fields.
Zambian Breweries has been proactive in partnering and working together with Government and other private organisations to promote tourism and arts development through its involvement and generation of initiatives to boost the industry.
The business has taken a keen interest in partnering with various industry players like the National Arts Council (NAC), National Heritage Conservation Commission (NHCC), National Association of Media Arts (NAMA), Zambia Association of Musicians (ZAM) and Zambia Tourism Agency (ZTA).
With huge involvement and sponsorship in tourism and art activities such as music, theatre, film, art crafts/paintings and curios, the company has continued to offer young Zambian people huge opportunities with its events and programmes.
The government’s vision for the tourism sector is set out thus: “To make Zambia an exciting and growing destination that realises its full potential and rewards tourists with unique, authentic and treasured experiences, and be amongst the top five tourist destinations of choice in Africa by 2030.”
Private corporate entities like Zambian Breweries have shown great strides in working with ministries, associations and other private organisations to help achieve this goal.
Hence, Zambian Breweries’ commitment in staging and sponsoring an annual festival ‘The Mosi Day of Thunder’ for a third consecutive year is key to driving tourism growth. This also allows locals to travel, as well as international tourists, to visit Livingstone, the home of the mighty Victoria Falls, hailed as one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World.
The Mosi Day of Thunder has become a popular musical festival and attracts not only Zambians but visitors from all over Southern Africa, including neighbouring Zimbabwe, Botswana and Mozambique. In two consecutive years, Zambian Breweries has hosted the festival and invites talented local artists and international musicians.
This year, The Mosi Day of Thunder is scheduled for May 25 and one of Africa’s award-winning Nigerian reggae-dancehall singer and songwriter, Patrick Nnaemeka Okorie, popularly known as Patoranking, will be gracing the music festival with his sensational presence and electrifying performance.
The event was first established in 2016, graced by legendary South African rapper Cassper Nyovest and last year by Tanzanian megastar Diamond Platnumz.
Events and festivals are important activities in promoting tourism, arts and travel industries. With more stakeholders coming together to boost the potential of such activities makes the whole experience for the tourists even more exciting as the packaging of the activities is harmonious.
NHCC and NAC emulate Zambian Breweries’ willingness to work with various stakeholders in promoting tourism. NHCC has been a supporter of activities supporting tourists to visit tourist sites. The association has been consistent with The Mosi Day of Thunder in making it more exciting through introducing a wholesome package to tourists to visit Victoria Falls on The Mosi Day of Thunder ticket.
Initiatives like The Mosi Day of Thunder have helped put Zambia’s tourism and arts on the map, benefitting sectors in the hotel industry, transport, arts, tourism and cultural heritage.
Government and private sector partnership is vital in achieving full potential of tourism and arts industries. Having more stakeholders come together would make tourism and arts activities bigger hence stirring a growth in making events and activities that offer a wider array of benefits to the tourists and the nation at large.
Government’s vision to achieve a government-led and private sector-driven tourism sector which aims at achieving a six percent contribution to GDP by 2030 proves to be on schedule with multiple efforts of different partners.
The author is country director of Zambian Breweries – JOSE DANIEL MORAN RAMIREZ