THE Tourism Council of Zambia (TCZ) is pleased that South Africa and Botswana have finally agreed to drop yellow fever certification as a requirement for travellers from Zambia, following the World Health Organisation (WHO) declaring Zambia a yellow fever free zone.
TCZ chairperson Felix Mulenga said the decision which was long-awaited, would significantly increase international tourist arrivals.
South Africa is Zambia’s leading source market for international arrivals, accounting for around 20.1 per cent of total arrivals in 2013.
Health Minister Joseph Kasonde announced on Monday this week that South Africa and Botswana had with immediate effect lifted the requirements of yellow fever certification for travellers from Zambia.
The WHO found from scientific research that Zambia had reduced cases of the yellow fever.
Mr Mulenga said in an interview that the removal of the yellow fever certification for travellers from South Africa or through South Africa to Zambia would significantly improve the tourist arrivals from that country.
“We are happy that South Africa and Botswana have decided to drop their demands on the yellow fever certification because this was creating a negative impact on the growth of the tourism sector in Zambia.
As you know South Africa is an important market for Zambia and currently is Zambia’s leading source market for tourists,” Mr Mulenga said.
In 2013, the Southern Africa region recorded total arrivals of more than 22 million representing a market share of global arrivals of approximately 2.5 percent and a 39.9 percent share of Africa’s total arrivals.
South Africa accounted for 191,048 tourist arrivals in the year under review, followed by Tanzania with 184,187.
Mr Mulenga said the yellow fever issue was an impediment to tourist arrivals as it affected the growth of the sector and that with the new development Zambia would attracted desired levels of tourists and compete favourably in the region and beyond.
By MAIMBOLWA MULIKELELA
SOURCE: TIMES OF ZAMBIA