From NANCY MWAPE in Livingstone
A TEAM of African-Americans has arrived in Livingstone to explore the tourism industry and Zambia’s culture.
The 14-man delegation that arrived yesterday was welcomed by Zambia Tourism Board (ZTB) Livingstone tourism promotion manager, Margaret Makungo.
Team leader David Saunders said in an interview yesterday that there is need to widely promote Zambia’s tourism to African-American travellers.
Mr Saunders, who is co- founder of Venue International Professional, Travel and Tourism Consulting Services, brings African-Americans to Zambia to give them a feel of the real “African experience.”
“Americans want to experience the African culture, explore wildlife and enjoy the hospitality of the Zambian people. Zambia is a model of the real Africa and provides an opportunity for people to feel at home,” Mr Saunders said.
He commended ZTB for its efforts in promoting Zambian tourist destinations on the American market.
“ZTB needs enough people to market Zambia in America. America is a very big country, you cannot just do Chicago, Los Angles and New York but you need to go to places where there are people that want to travel to Africa,” Mr Saunders said.
He said it is important for Zambian professionals to work with the Americans to promote the country.
Mr Saunders said there is very little publicity on Zambia and Americans only know of the country’s politics and its history but not real life experience.
He also said Americans do not know where the Victoria Falls or Zambezi River is located but they know about Nile and Congo Rivers.
The team, which will be in Livingstone for five days, will visit the Mukuni village.
The team will also participate in a sunset cruise, elephant ride, canoe ride and bungee jumping among other activities.
Mr Saunders said African-Americans are among the largest group of world travellers, who want to explore the globe but they know very little of Africa.
“The Americans know a lot about Europe, China, Caribbean beach life but nothing on African tourism. The more they visit Africa, they more they would to return to the continent,” Mr Saunders said.
He said there is need for a reliable airline, affordable tour packages and aggressive marketing of the country to lure American visitors
And Horace Abney, a first time traveller to Zambia, said he is excited to be in Africa and he looks forward to knowing the country and to meet Zambians.
“As African-Americans, we sometimes forget who we are and where we came from. Coming to Zambia is a reminder of where we came from,” Mr Abney said.