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Travel and tourism sectors heavily affected by coronavirus

Filed under: Business,Latest News,Tourism |
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The Covid-19 pandemic has continued to affect key sectors of the country’s economy with the tourism sector losing about 460 million United States dollars in both consumption   and non-consumptive domestic tourism.

The tourism industry which is one of the sectors considered to be vital to the economic development of the country as highlighted in the country’s Seventh National Development Plan (7NDP) has also seen over 300 jobs threatened especially in the hospitality business.Minister of Tourism and Art Ronald Chitotela has attributed the loss to the cancellations of tourists’ planned visits due to the stoppages of flights by different airlines.

Chitotela who is Pambashe Member of Parliament told journalists in Lusaka , that the tourism industry is usually active in months of September and May, hence it has been hardly hit by the pandemic.

“So as a ministry we have since written to the treasury for a stimulus package to protect the sector,” Chitotela said.

He further called on Zambians to appreciate local tourism, as a way of contributing to the economic development of the country.

And Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry Christopher Yaluma has assured the business community especially the small and medium enterprises of government’s support to sustain their businesses awake the Covid-19 pandemic.

Yaluma noted that the SME sector contributes significantly to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

“This is why as government we are putting in place strict measures aimed at keeping the sector vibrant, especially those in the production of various products,” Yaluma stressed.

He also disclosed that government has dropped rates required for one to put up industries in the Multi Facility Economic Zones to attract more local industrial yards.

“If we increase local manufacturer’s participation in the local economy, we will go a long way in enhancing the production and consumption of locally produced goods. And government is also already engaging chain stores on the need for them to increase on the stocking of local products,” he added.

Yaluma pointed out that there is need for the local manufactures to take advantage of the lockdowns in other countries and the restricted movement of goods and produce more to satisfy the local market.

He said his Ministry also has grants that SMEs can access, as they take advantage of the K10 billion credit facility provided by the central bank and grow their business for the benefit of Zambians.

Smooth flow of essential goods and services, during the COVID-19 lockdown of most Southern African Development Community (SADC) has affected regional commerce.

However, Zambia’s local manufacturers have been encouraged to produce more, to satisfy the local market, whilst Zambians have been urged to consume locally produced products.

-ZANIS

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