THE Spanish Government has pledged full support in the enhancement of Tourism cooperation with Zambia.
This came to light when Zambia’s Tourism and Arts Minister Charles Banda held a bilateral meeting with his Spanish counterpart Hon. Ms. María Reyes Maroto Illera, Minister of Industry, Trade and Tourism to discuss the implementation of various areas of collaboration as outlined in the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that was signed between the two countries in 2018.
The meeting held in Madrid, Spain also provided an opportunity to discuss other areas of collaboration of mutual interest and benefit with a focus on trade and investment in the tourism sector.
Last year, Zambia became the second African country to sign a Tourism Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Spain after Kenya.
And Banda pointed out that the Zambian Government had for the past five years embarked on economic diversification to move away from the dependence on copper to other industries.
The Minister explained that tourism was one of the sectors that the Government had identified in the diversification programme as key.
“The Zambian Government has resolved to transform the Tourism, Arts and Cultural sector into a viable and sustainable industry capable of significantly contributing to the National Gross Domestic Product (GDP), job creation and above all, poverty reduction” added the Minister.
The Minister also stressed that Government in its Seventh National Development Plan (7NDP) had identified Tourism, Arts and Culture, as one of the priority growth sectors of the national economy towards the developmental National Vision 2030, which aims at developing the country into a “prosperous middle-income country by the year 2030”.
And the Spanish Minister Maroto stressed that her country was keen to learn from Zambia especially in the areas of wildlife conservation, culture and arts.
“Minister I look forward to working with you, strengthen relations with Zambia and possibly visit your country this year to further enhance our collaboration” said Hon. Maroto.
And speaking earlier at the Zambia – Spain Tourism Trade and Investment Forum organised by the Zambia – Paris Mission in collaboration with the Madrid Chamber of Commerce (CAMARA MADRID), Zambia’s Ambassador to France who is also accredited to the Kingdom of Spain Dr. Christine Kaseba-SATA appealed to the Spanish companies to physically move and establish businesses in Zambia.
The event attracted about 40 prospective Spanish investors who expressed interest to invest in Zambia in various sectors of the economy.
Ambassador Kaseba-SATA cited the Africa investment and awards forum, an event organized by major business associations in France which awarded Zambia as the “2018 best state strategy” for investment promotion beating other five (5) countries, held last year as an endorsement from third parties that Zambia was one of the best destinations for investment.
“The Zambian Government has remained steadfast in promoting private sector development as it views the private sector to be the engine of economic growth and as such, the country has continued to improve its investment climate as evidenced by the huge improvement on the 2019 World Bank ease of doing business index at 87th out of the 190 economies in the world and remaining among the top 9 best performers in Africa and 5th within the sub-saharan region,” the Zambian Envoy added.
And Vice-Chairperson of Camara Madrid, Mr. Augosto de Castaneda pledged to facilitate a visit of the President of the Real Madrid Foundation to Zambia.
The Real Madrid Foundation is an Agency under the Real Madrid Football Club that focuses on encouraging social sports in schools especially those located in rural areas.
Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Banda was in Madrid, Spain to officiate at the Zambia – Spain Tourism Trade and Investment Forum organised as a side event by the Zambia – Paris Mission in collaboration with the Madrid Chamber of Commerce (CAMARA MADRID) at the International Tourism Trade Fair of Madrid (FITUR) which took place from 21st to 28th January 2019.
The opening ceremony of the FITUR was graced by His Majesty King Felipe the VI and Queen Letizia of Spain who echoed a message on the importance of tourism for social-economic emancipations in many countries.
This year’s FITUR attracted more than 40 Ministers of Tourism from around the world, out of which 29 came from Africa.