Of the two travel related taxes suggested by former Nigerian president Olusegun Obasanjooa, one requiring passengers to pay a $5 (domestic) or $10 (international) infrastructure and development charge went into effect June 16, according to the Lusaka Times. The measure was enacted by the National Airports Corporation.
The report stated that passengers departing from Harry Mwaanga, Simon Mwansa Kapwepwe, Kenneth Kaunda International and Mfuwe airports are expected to contribute to the new tax. Planning for the fund-raising initiative took place in late May at the African Union Summit in Addis Ababa.
Zambian president Michael Sata opposed the tax saying it was a backwards strategy in driving tourism to the country. He believes charging international passengers additional travel fees isn’t the right approach that the union should take to increase funding for the organization.
“We would like to attract tourism in Zambia; if hotels become expensive, then some people are going to rise against us, the airlines are going to be less profitable,” he said in the report.
While sitting on a panel at the summit, Obasanjoo also suggested adding a $2 accommodation fee to all reservations booked in African hotels. This measure has not been enforced.
The Lusaka Voice reported on additional measures other African nations are taking to contribute to the development of Zambia’s airline industry.
“One of our key goals is to create sustainable air transport in Africa. The airline is a tough industry but a good facilitator if nurtured well. We need infrastructure, security and facilitation in terms of making sure that we do not put in obstacles that stop people from visiting our countries,” Kenya Airways chief executive officer Titus Naikuni said in the Lusaka Voice report.
Kenya Airways celebrated their inaugural flight to Livingstone, Zambia earlier this month.
“As Africans, we need to appreciate the gem that we have and use our resources and ability to develop it to the benefit of our people,” Ruthie Rono, Kenya’s High Commissioner to Zambia added.
Aside from the African Union, Felix Chaila, Zambia Tourism Board chief executive officer said African tourism boards need to implement better collaboration strategies to capitalize on the business opportunities that new routes offer.
“Launching the Livingstone route means that we can now reach the Far East and the Indian market,” Chaila said.
Tourism officials of other African nations find Zambia to be an attractive destination as the country boasts a progressive economy.