Human, culture and natural resources

The Partners Guide has been reviewing the World Economic Forum 2013 travel & Tourism Competitiveness report. The Comprehensive 517 page report contains detailed data and analysis on 140 countries including Zambia and all its neighbors except for Angola and the DRC, which are both fairly closed off for tourism purposes.

The report concentrates on what it considers to be 14 main pillars of the travel and tourism industry, all containing a number of sub-sectors which give a fascinating insight in to Zambia’s competitiveness in the travel and tourism industry, often providing insight in to the competitiveness of Zambia’s economy in general, how attractive Zambia may appear to would-be investors, how Zambia compares against leading competitors for foreign direct investment, potential areas for investment and examples of countries to look to for inspiration in terms of closing the gap in areas for improvement.

The report is an extremely useful tool for policy decision makers and potential foreign investors and also highlights potential opportunities to the private sector for potential gaps in the market and opportunities to be capitalised on.

In this article, we focus on the second five pillars of travel and tourism competitiveness, which are to do with the travel and tourism business environment and infrastructure.

The last edition covered the regulatory framework and the next edition of the Partners Guide will focus on travel and tourism human, cultural and natural resources.

The Zambian travel and tourism industry was estimated to be worth $423m USD, 2.2% of Zambia’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and this percentage of total GDP is estimated to increase by 6.7% by the year 2022, which constitutes a growing industry, albeit at a fairly slow pace.

The Zambian travel and tourism industry currently employs 22,400 people, which is 1.4% of Zambia’s total jobs, although the travel and tourism economy, which includes support services and other industries which benefit from travel and tourism is thought to be worth $966m USD, 5.1% of Zambia’s total GDP and employing 59,000 people.

Zambia received 906,400 tourist arrivals in 2011, bringing in tourism receipts of $146m USD.

International tourist arrivals peaked in Zambia in 2007, with international tourism receipts peaking in 2008.

Figures slumped from 2009 although current figures have recovered and are now not far off from 2007 and 2008 peaks.

Zambia ranked 108th in the world overall for travel and tourism competitiveness in 2013, a slight improvement from 111th in 2011, although perhaps not as big an improvement that many would have expected given the hosting of the UNWTO General Assembly in Livingstone in 2013. In 2009, Zambia was ranked 100th in the world.bora

Zambia ranks 12th best in Africa. Seychelles is top at 38th, Mauritius at 58th, South Africa at 64th, Morocco at 71st, Cape Verde at 87th, Namibia at 91st, The Gambia 92nd, Botswana 94th, Kenya 96th, Rwanda 105th, Senegal 107th and Zambia 108th.

Other mainland Sub-Saharan African listings out of the 140 country report include Tanzania at 109th, Uganda 116th, Ghana 117th, Zimbabwe 118th, Swaziland 119th, Ethiopia 120th, Malawi 124th, Mozambique 125th, Ivory Coast 126th, Nigeria 127th, Burkina Faso 128th, Mali 129th, Benin 130th, Madagascar 131st, Mauritania 134th, Lesotho 135th, Guinea 136th, Sierra Leone 137th, Burundi 138th and Chad 139th.

When people talk about Sub-Saharan Africa, they refer to it as Africa below the Sahara desert or south of the countries on Africa’s Mediterranean coast. Many commentators also exclude South Africa due to the country’s economic advantages.

Image Credit: Sub-saharan Africa -

Image Credit:

If we can say that it is probably also advantageous in the travel and tourism industry to be an island, then we can say that all of the top five countries for travel and tourism competitiveness in Africa are not in mainland Sub Saharan Africa, so it would perhaps be unfair to compare Zambia to them.

Despite this, it may not be out of the question to look to these countries for inspiration in terms of the development of the travel and tourism sector.

In the whole top 12 in Africa, only BotswanaRwanda and Zambia are landlocked, so it could be considered to be a significant advantage to have a coastline.

However, when you look at the complete table, you find the top three countries in the world for travel and tourism competitiveness are Switzerland, Germany and Austria, two of which are landlocked and the other, Germany which has a very small coastline in comparison to the country’s size. So, it would seem like you should try to do the best with what you have.

Area 47

The 14 pillars for travel and tourism competitiveness in the report are (1) policy rules and regulations, (2) environmental sustainability, (3) safety and security, (4) health and hygiene, (5) prioritisation of travel and tourism, (6) air transport infrastructure, (7) ground transport infrastructure, (8) tourism infrastructure, (9) ICT infrastructure, (10) price competitiveness in the travel and tourism industry, (11) human resources, (12) affinity for travel and tourism, (13) natural resources and (14) cultural resources and here we will examine Zambia’s performance in pillars 11-14 which concern human, cultural and natural resources, make comparisons with similar economies and attempt to come up with reasons for the level of performance in certain areas as well as suggesting potential areas for improvement for the future.

Zambia is rated 121st in the world and 11th in mainland Sub-Saharan Africa for this pillar. This is clearly a pillar with room for improvement and has possibly a larger effect on the economy than any other pillar.

If the human resources are not available to carry out work that investors will need them to carry out either due to lack of education or poor health, then this is a deterrent to investment.

Improving the skill level of Zambia’s human resource will greatly reduce the high levels of unemployment the country is experiencing.

It is no use for an entire population crying out for meaningful employment when very few have been trained to be capable of carrying out meaningful employment, and Zambia’s below par performance in this pillar can be attributed to the lack of investment in education over the past 20 years in comparison to many other African countries that have experienced similar levels of stability to Zambia.

For primary education enrollment, Zambia ranks 87th in the world and 5th in Sub-Saharan Africa behind Rwanda, Tanzania, Malawi, Benin and Cameroon and is something that Zambia should be quite pleased with.

school girls Zambia

For enrollment in secondary education, Zambia ranks 130th in the world, which is in the bottom 10 globally and in 17th in Sub-Saharan Africa behind Botswana, Namibia, Kenya, Ghana, Swaziland, The Gambia, Lesotho, Nigeria, Cameroon, Mali, Guinea, Zimbabwe, Senegal, Benin, Rwanda, Ethiopia and Malawi. This is a particularly poor ranking and shows that Zambia has a lot of work to do to get children enrolled in secondary education.

In terms of quality of education based on locally conducted opinion polls, Zambia is 39th in the world and 4th in Sub-Saharan Africa behind The Gambia, Zimbabwe and Kenya meaning that people within Zambia believe that the education system is meeting fairly well the needs of a competitive economy.

Interestingly, Zambia scored higher than countries like France, Japan, South Korea and Italy in this regard.

Also, South Africa and Egypt regarded to have the best higher education institutions on the continent both scored in the bottom five for this pillar, meaning that the populations of those countries do not believe that the education systems in those countries are meeting expectations.

For local availability of specialised research and training services based on locally conducted opinion polls, Zambia ranked 61st in the world and 3rd in Sub-Saharan Africa behind Senegal and The Gambia.

If these polls reflect reality then Zambia could be a regional hub for specialised research and training services as neighbouring countries such as Botswana, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Mozambique and Namibia score much lower.

For the extent of staff training, Zambia ranks 106th in the world and 14th in Sub-Saharan Africa behind The Gambia, Ivory Coast, Namibia, Nigeria, Botswana, Rwanda, Kenya, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Cameroon, Swaziland, Malawi, Ghana and Uganda.

This does not tally with the previous pillar and would suggest that whilst the expertise is available locally for training, more so than neighbouring countries, this availability is not taken and means that Zambian employees are less well trained than employees in most neighbouring countries despite the fact that there is greater availability of expertise to facilitate this training than in most neighbouring countries.

Perhaps government could look at incentivising the private sector to provide training for employees or recognising companies that do train their staff with some form of accreditation.

For hiring and firing practices, Zambia ranked 31st in the world and 11th in Sub-Saharan Africa behind Uganda, Kenya, Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad, Sierra Leone, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Mauritania and Ghana meaning that the regulations behind hiring and firing practices are not a great impediment to business.

In terms of the ease of hiring foreign labour, Zambia ranks 25th in the world and 8th in Sub-Saharan Africa behind Uganda, Cameroon, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Rwanda and Burkina Faso meaning that the regulations surrounding hiring foreign labour are not a great impediment to business.

For HIV prevalence, Zambia ranks 135th in the world. Only Swaziland, Botswana, Lesotho, South Africa and Zimbabwe have a higher HIV prevalence rate than Zambia.

This is an impediment to business as when a country has a higher HIV prevalence rate, the average life expectancy is likely to be lower and therefore there is a higher likelihood that valuable skills will be lost to the economy.

In terms of the business impact of HIV, looking at death, disability, medical and funeral expenses, productivity and absenteeism and recruitment and training expenses, Zambia again ranked at 135th in the world.

Only Lesotho, Burundi,Namibia, Malawi and Swaziland ranked lower.For life expectancy, Zambia ranks 137th in the world. Only Swaziland, Lesotho and Sierra Leone have a lower life expectancy than Zambia.

This would appear to indicate that Zambia has a lot of work to do to improve its health system to increase the life expectancy of its citizens.

For Affinity for Travel & Tourism, Zambia ranks 97th in the world and 14th in mainland Sub- Saharan Africa behind The Gambia, Rwanda, Uganda, Senegal, Kenya, Mali, Lesotho, Tanzania, Namibia, Benin, Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso, Swaziland which would suggest that Zambia has a much lesser affinity for travel and tourism than most would think.

In terms of tourism openness, which refers to tourism expenditure and receipts as a percentage of GDP, Zambia rated as the second poorest performing economy in Sub-Saharan Africa after GDP.crp Vienna--Austria-The-City-At-Night

By comparison, tourism accounts for 32.5% of GDP in the Seychelles, 12.7% in Lesotho, 11.0% in The Gambia and 9.9% in Tanzania.

In terms of the attitude of the local people towards foreign visitors, Zambia ranked as 34th most welcoming in the world and 5th in mainland Sub-Saharan Africa behind Senegal, Burkina Faso, Mali and Rwanda underlying Zambia’s status as a warm, friendly and welcoming nation.

In terms of recommendation of the extension of business trips, Zambia ranks as 90th in the world and 14th in Sub-Saharan Africa behind Rwanda, Mali, Namibia, Kenya, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Benin, Zimbabwe, The Gambia, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Senegal and Burundi, meaning that much more can be done to encourage and persuade business travellers to extend their visits to take in tourist attractions.

For degree of customer orientation, which refers to how well companies treat customers within a particular country, Zambia is rated 71st globally and 4th in Sub-Saharan Africa behind The Gambia, Senegal and Kenya meaning that customer service in Zambia is actually pretty good in comparison with other Sub-Saharan African countries and not bad globally, which goes against what many local commentators think, although there is always room for improvement for any company or country when it comes to customer service.


Victoria falls ZambiaZambia is blessed with having one of the natural wonders of the world Victoria Falls on its border with Zimbabwe as well as vast swathes of land dedicated to natural parkland and abundant water resources despite its landlocked status.

Zambia ranks 28th in the world and 5th in Sub-Saharan Africa behind Tanzania, Kenya, Zimbabwe and Uganda which is a competitive advantage for Zambia and one of the strengths of its tourism industry.

Zambia ranks joint 45th in the world when it comes to number of natural world heritage sites with one recognised Natural World Heritage Site and joint 8th in Sub-Saharan Africa behind Tanzania, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Cameroon, Senegal, Uganda and Zimbabwe.

Perhaps more can be done in this regard to lobby UNESCO to recognise more sites, as there are a number of sites that could potentially be considered and this has been recorded to have an impact on the number of tourist visitors received by a country.

Looking at total number of known species, Zambia ranks 28th in the world and 7th in Sub- Saharan Africa behind Tanzania, Kenya, Cameroon, Uganda, Nigeria and Ethiopia and Zambia do whatever it can to protect its endangered species from human wildlife conflict, poaching and environmental threats.

Lower Zambezi national park

In terms of quality of the natural environment, Zambia ranks 51st in the world and 6th in Sub-Saharan Africa behind Namibia, Botswana, Rwanda, The Gambia and Zimbabwe and perhaps studies can be undertaken to see how these countries are preserving their natural environment.


In terms of terrestrial biome protection, which is a metric referring to the environmental protection of land, Zambia ranks joint 1st in the world and joint first in Sub-Saharan Africa along with Botswana and the Ivory Coast which is another considerable working strength for Zambia’s tourism industry.

As a landlocked country, the metric of marine protected areas is not applicable for Zambia as it does not refer to inland protected marine areas.


In terms of cultural resources, Zambia ranks 118th in the world and 12th in Sub-Saharan Africa behind Mali, Ethiopia, Senegal, Swaziland, Kenya, Nigeria, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Mauritania and Ghana which means that Zambia has a lot of work to do in terms of preserving historical sites and promoting and reviving traditional customs and practices, ceremonies, music, dance and the arts to make this element of the tourism sector competitive within Sub- Saharan Africa.Senegal

In terms of the number of World Cultural Heritage sites, Zambia is ranked joint 88th in the world with two World Cultural Heritage sites and joint 11th in Sub-Saharan Africa behind Mali, Ethiopia, Senegal, Nigeria, Kenya, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, The Gambia, Malawi and Mozambique and level with Benin, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Mauritania and Uganda which means more can also be done to lobby UNESCO for the recognition of more local cultural sites as this can have a positive impact on tourist numbers.

In terms of sports stadium capacity per head of population, Zambia ranks 90th in the world and 3rd in Sub-Saharan Africa behind Swaziland and Botswana.

For the number of international fairs and exhibitions held in the country, Zambia ranks joint 96th in the world and 9th in Sub-Saharan Africa behind Kenya, Ghana, Nigeria, Tanzania, Senegal, Uganda, Ethiopia and Botswana and level with Cameroon and Mali which means that more work can be done to attract international fairs and exhibitions and improve facilities in order to ease the facilitation of these.Ghana-Theatre-Festival

For exports related to the creative industries, Zambia ranks at 114th in the world and 13th in Sub-Saharan Africa behind Ghana, Tanzania, Kenya, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Ivory Coast, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Uganda, Senegal and Malawi which means that a lot of work needs to be done to support, encourage and promote the creative industries market as well as help this industry to access international markets as recognition of a country’s creative industry can also help to boost  its own local tourism sector.



Mainland Sub-Saharan Africa human, cultural and natural resources: (global ranking listed)

70. Mali

91. Ethopia

93. Senegal

105. Kenya

106. Nigeria

108. Swaziland

113. Tanzania

114. Zimbabwe


117. Ghana

118. Mauritania


121. Mozambique

122.  The Gambia

124. Malawi

125. Benin

127. Burkina Faso

130. Ivory Coast

132. Uganda

134. Sierra Leone

135. Cameroon

137. Lesotho

138. Rwanda

139. Chad

140. Burundi














Related Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.