Zambian marketers urged to re-assert themselves to boost tourism

By our News Team | 2023

Annual ZIM Conference hears that local marketers can upskill to make a vital contribution to tourism and national economic growth.

Tourism is an absolute game changer for Africa. So declared the Pro Vice-Chancellor of the Ghana Communication Technology University, Professor Robert Ebo Hinson, in a keynote address entitled ‘Bold Moves, Big Impacts: Leveraging Tourism, Investments & Exports to Transform Communities and Industries’ at the 26th Annual Zambia Institute of Marketing Conference and Awards Gala Dinner.

The event, which attracted top marketers from Zambia and other parts of Africa, was held from 19-22 April at the Radisson Blu Mosi-Oa-Tunya, Livingstone Resort.

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Seen at the conference (from left): Hon. Chipoka Mulenga, Tarisai Moffat, Professor Robert Ebo Hinson and Mwewa Besa. Photo courtesy of Prof. Hinson

In the presence of Zambia’s Minister of Commerce and Trade, Hon. Chipoka Mulenga, Professor Hinson submitted that tourism industry associations should perform periodic marketing audits to ensure Zambian tourism marketing products and services are still fit for purpose.

Further to that, also perform periodic digitalisation and innovation audits to ensure that Zambian tourism operators are utilising the right digital strategies to promote their services.

On the role of the Zambia Institute of Marketing (ZIM) in growing the GDP of Zambia by improving tourism sector performance, Professor Hinson argued that ZIM should liaise with the Zambia Tourism Authority to conduct a National Tourism Marketing Audit and utilise the inputs from the National Tourism Marketing Audit to develop a new technology driven Zambian Tourism Marketing Strategy spanning 2024-2027.

ZIM also should liaise with progressive higher education institutions to establish a one-year technology driven master’s degree in Hospitality and Tourism Marketing, Professor Hinson said. 

They should also consider coordinating with relevant industry associations to develop appropriate short courses to boost the skill content of Zambia’s tourism sector, with a focus on topics like AI and Digital Management, B2B Marketing, Global Business Management, and Customer Experience Management.

Use the conference as a forum to exchange knowledge

On her part, the Registrar and CEO of the Zambia Institute of Marketing, Mrs Lute Lungu Mwelo, welcomed the keynote speaker to Zambia and urged the marketing fraternity to use the conference as a forum to exchange knowledge and information to facilitate the development of tailor-made marketing strategies that respond to consumer’s needs. 

In his speech, Zambia’s Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry, Honourable Chipoka Mulenga, challenged marketers at the conference to reflect on questions such as: “How can we explore export markets to grow our non-traditional exports?” 

Other questions to be considered, the Minister said, included “How can we improve the quality of our products and raise the bar on how Zambian products are perceived?” and “How do we increase the number of tourist arrivals and prolong their stay?”

The Minister charged the Zambia Institute of Marketing to collaborate and create market synergies, utilising its collective strength to ensure Zambia becomes self-sufficient and a regional trade and investment hub.

Mr Mwewa Besa, the President of the Zambia Institute of Marketing, also opined that the Zambian business environment has remained extremely volatile and, in the quest for local marketers to retain their relevance as a ‘key to prosperity’ (a key theme of the conference) they have a duty to devise strategies that will not just make Zambian institutions survive, but thrive in the face of economic and business turbulence. 

The conference, which closed with an award ceremony, was well attended with speakers from both within and outside of Zambia, and representation from public and private sector entities – including Toyota, Prudential Life, the Zambia Revenue Authority and the Securities and Exchanges Commission. 

Research by the World Tourism Trade Council (WTTC) projects that, between 2022 and 2032, tourism’s contribution to the global economy should grow at an average annual rate of 5.8% which is more than double the 2.7% average annual growth rate estimated for the global economy.

The Zambia Institute of Marketing is a founder member of the African Marketing Confederation.

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