Zimbabwe Out-Marketing Zambia on Tourism

Representatives of the Zambian government have dismissed the assessment by the Zambia Institute of Marketing that found that the country is not prepared to host United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) General Assembly which will be co-hosted with neighbouring Zimbabwe.
Tourism and Arts Minister Sylvia Masebo says Zimbabweans know better how to market their country compared to their Zambian counterparts.
Masebo said Zimbabwe is known to be an old tourist destination yet Zambia is endowed with more tourism sites dotted in the country besides the famous Victoria falls which is shared by Zimbabwe.
“Mr. Speaker Sir, the only difference between Zambia and Zimbabwe is that Zimbabweans are very aggressive and nationalistic while Zambian we are not patriotic. We Zambians are good at criticizing ourselves. We have so much in terms of tourism,” Masebo told parliament.
She regretted that her Ministry had not carried out an effective sensitization campaigns but reiterated Government’s commitment to working with the media, the private sector, Members of Parliament (MPs), the lodge owners and other stakeholders to help market Zambia vigorously.


  1. Emmanuel

    Zimbabwe is a power house in terms of tourism as compared to Zambia,zim has been affected by politics despite the sad stories zim have got evrything !

  2. Paul Koke

    Zambia Tourism Re-brand: the failed expedition
    November 14, 2012 | Filed under: Breaking News | Posted by: Mwansa

    By John W. Mwanza

    After winning the 2010 AFCON cup of nations, the Chipolopolo boys brought the worlds eyes on Zambia.

    We had a rare opportunity in front of millions and the tourism brand did not make an appearance. There is simply no point in re-branding if you cannot identify and utilise opportunities like this one.

    If Herve Renard could do this for Zambia through football, how did we fail to effectively launch and sustain the rebirth of Zambia’s Tourism

    Lets re-brand

    In 2009 an average of around 900 million tourist’s were moving around the world annually and of these, 90 million visited Africa with 46 million coming into southern Africa.

    South Africa got an average of 36 million tourists that year and Zambia only got around 700,000. With this in mind the Zambia Tourism Board embarked on a series of road shows around the world.
    Upon returning from these extensive and expensive travels, the now enlightened team shared the shocking news of Zambia’s unknown tourism offering abroad and this insight sparked the re-branding flame. In March 2010, ZTB announced that they had engaged
    Cornell University of Hotel administration from the United States of America.

    The university’s task was to re-brand Zambia as a preferred destination in Africa and improve its tourism market reach. We finally called in the experts. The university then put a six member student delegation to embark on new ways to analyse every facility that Zambia
    has and how best to market them and then package and design persuasive and attractive catch lines to compel more people to visit Zambia. Our story as a nation was now in the very capable hands of six american students who had never lived in Zambia.
    Had we overlooked a fundamental part of the exercise or was domestic tourism and local culture just not relevant enough at this stage? Several weeks later we were back at the drawing board after ruling out the logos and slogans produced by Cornell University and were instead reviewing hundreds of logos and slogans submitted in response to a competition run by ZTB.

    People from all over the world who had no awareness of the reports, research and market insights that had preceded the re-brand exercise sent in the logo and slogan ideas.

    It was only at this point that ZTB called in individuals from various media and advertising firm in Zambia and we selected a winning logo and slogan not necessarily by its representation of the brand values and touch points from all the intellectuals or the research by the Americans but purely by a majority vote.

    We ended up choosing a slogan sent in by a South African and a logo designed by an Italian and once this was done we flew in some Congolese
    rhumba stars to launch the new Zambian tourism brand.
    So it is Zambia lets explore or Zambia lets fix this? At present the brand is not as strong as the previous one despite a more modern look and feel.

    It failed to captivate the local tourism market and very few Zambians can tell you what the current tourism slogan for the country is or what the new tourism logo looks like.

    The rebrand also failed to engage the private sector into raising the new brand’s profile even with the forthcoming United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) General Assembly to be co-hosted by Zambia and Zimbabwe next year.
    Budgets Vs Creativity In February 2012, ZTB announced a total marketing budget of K9.8 billion of which K3.7 billion would be channelled to promoting domestic tourism and K4.9 billion for international marketing. There has been a lot of monies pumped into the Zambia Tourism Board but to date the ZTB website is out-dated, poorly designed and does very little to promote the new brand or Zambian tourism as a whole. We have not seen any
    local tourism campaign apart from 3 of 4 poorly designed billboards dotted around Lusaka in the most inconspicuous of places. We need to know where and how the taxpayer’s money is being used and if these efforts are bearing any fruit.

    Upon receiving these monies, ZTB promised to employ several tactics including consumer road shows, corporate shows, trade shows and fairs, tourist information centres, advertisement on print, billboards and electronic media, a weekly television programme, website marketing
    and social media.

    So lets take stock, as far as road shows are concerned we know that they travel around the world a lot with no tangible results or published reports on how effective this expensive strategy is.

    The website is total a mess and so is what was supposed to be a television programme.

    We have not seen any local tourism campaign apart from 2 or 3 poorly designed billboards dotted around Lusaka in the most inconspicuous of places.
    They don’t have an official Facebook page or twitter account or a blog and have not produced any material for online broadcast on YouTube.
    Power to the Youth Zambia’s greatest tourism asset are it’s warm, friendly and peace loving people and a tourists first impression of Zambia starts with ordinary Zambians working at airports, immigration, bus stations e.t.c it is therefore fundamental to prioritise the local tourism
    market and the involvement of ordinary Zambians in the rebranding effort.

    To lose the confidence of local musicians becouse we opted to invited artists cost us a lot of brand ambassadors and created a disconnection with the youth and with local culture.
    In my opinion the aspect of domestic tourism was a secondary priority through out the rebranding process. We forgot our duty to the Zambian people whose hearts and minds we had to win in order to get the nation singing the lets explore brand.

    The promotion of the new brand through local culture and music was completely ignored. Zambian music
    is receiving increasing airplay on radio stations around the region and we have talented musicians like Caitlin Papier, a renowned Zambian electric violinist who performs to millions around the world. How could we not make this prominent young musician a tourism ambassador?

    Web-based tourism development

    An upgrade to the current ZTB website would cost a lot less than it cost us to bring two Congolese musicians to launch our brand and this should have been the first point of call before the brand was launched. An up to date website can easily create a seamless link to online social networking sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn, twitter and several others where tourists can blog about their experiences in Zambia thereof making recommendations based on their visit.

    At present Zambia has over 300,000 active Facebook users online (potential online brand mobilisers) and the social network site has a total of 1billion users worldwide. This free website is the biggest brand mobilisation platform in the world but sadly ZTB has no presence there.
    Online marketing is guerilla marketing at its best and this form of marketing requires a radically different approach and a vastly more fragmented way of spending resources.
    Unlike print advertising and billboards on Lusaka’s cluttered streets, web based marketing is all about unique monthly visitors and page views. And how do you place an advert value on an article or images that people will keep reading and seeing online for years, month after month? How do you value a link to your website site? For someone who knows about search engine optimization, that link is very valuable. But to a board
    member or director who still doesn’t know what a blog is, it’s worth far less than a one paragraph newspaper mention.


    Any good re-brand or promotional campaign has to have quantifying mechanisms in place to gauge its success and the results of such have to be made public.

    The target to get one million tourist arrivals by the end of 2012, increase tourists’ length of stay from an average three days to seven days and attain tourism sector Gross Domestic Product (GDP) contribution of 10 per cent per annum from the current 7 per cent is not at all achievable under the current ZTB management. As a destination Zambia is negatively affected by the poor road network, lack of air transport to some tourism attraction areas
    and the frequent changing of taxes, visas and levies which make it difficult for tourism operators to price their products favorably. I would not be so naïve as to say that getting the marketing right would sort out Zambia’s tourism industry but in a country where the tourism sector is the second largest employer, it would be a very good first step considering that so many livelihood depend on it. We have as many bright and creative
    minds as we have wildlife and places of interest in Zambia and we need to empower the youths to push the brand with new and innovative ideas. Lets have the older guys move up into the ministry of tourism or move into the technical advisory role so that we can bring in fresh young talent, people who actually know what an exploration is all about to run with the creative marketing operation.

    ZTB is in dire need of a blood transfusion and all the bright sparks are on the outside looking in.
    30 Responses to Zambia Tourism Re-brand: the failed expedition

    Blacks! You can’t run anything. As my hero Eugene Terre Blanche once said” Africans are genetically designed to be destructive. The only thing they ever invented was the knobkerry for smashing the heads of the Europeans.”

    Look what you have done in 48 years of the so-called indepenndence, to the excellent infrastructure we built in the country during the 42 years we ruled you. Nothing works, pot holes even in Cairo Road…

    May be we should come back to re-civilise you.

    Boer based in Lusaka – November 14, 2012

    Just take a good look at the Minister of Tourism. Looks like she spends more time dolling herself up in the morning and deciding which hat to wear instead of actually doing something about her ministry. What else do you expect? Typical.

    Scholastica Chocolatika – November 14, 2012

    John W Mwanza is an empty head he can’t even copy and paste. South Africa’ s tourist arrivals are nowhere near 36 million. Get the facts right before rushing to publish an article. As for the other things, not sure they are accurate too.

    Lorie Grey – November 14, 2012

    Rubbish , come to zambia to see what, piles of rubbish, street vendors, funny lusaka int’l aiport, look you can’t be building while someone is destroying , mr sata’s actions are having negative effects on a lot of things, zambia is dirty, the lodges are just expensive for nothing, go to other countries and appreciate beauty,

    chaya manyoka – November 14, 2012

    Mr. Mwanza this is a well written piece. It is unfortunate that ZTB board are only concerned with allowances and not portraying Zambia to the world. What about our diplomats? Do they even attempt to sell Zambia to the world?

    Moreen Tembo – November 14, 2012

    You have brilliant ideas.Why didn’t you critcize ZNTB when they were implementing these Text Book theories!.You are partly to blame for not criticizing ZNTB at the right time.

    Sobenechyo – November 14, 2012

    I agree with the Author ZTB is doing nothing apart from globe trotting.i work for an overland Company and we do tours throughout Africa,my Country Zambia is the most disorganized tourism wise and very expensive it is very embarrassing when you get to Kazungula Border compared to our friends in Botswana its total chaos tourists are made to pay a lot of things and to make matters worse there is no order one has to guess where to do the payments.When tourists get to the falls they pay K100,000 per person the car has to pay and you the guide has to pay
    Get to the lodges in lower Zambezi rates are charged per bed not per room so if you go with your spouse she pays and you for bed space.
    There is no logic in ZTB going on road shows abroad before putting their own back yard in order.
    Very few Zambians can afford some activities offered in our parks its very expensive one can not even manage to pay for a boat cruise on the Zambezi River in Livingstone.
    Its cheaper to fly to Joburg from Livingstone on airlines like BA and SAA than flying to Lusaka on our local airline with their small aircrafts
    ZTB should learn from our friends in Botwsana,Namibia,Zimbabwe,Malawi,Tanzania and Kenya how they market and run their affairs our National Parks are more attractive than some of these countries e.g South Luangua though the road is a nightmare i dont know when works will be completed???
    Local tourists is the way forward……

    Davies Phiri – November 14, 2012

    We thought tourists will come because of a slogan. Zambia the real Africa or in the sun but tourists went to South Africa, Kenya and Zimbabwe etc where there were good services and where there was order and cleanness. Now every street is a market and we think tourists are interested in coming to dirty streets where they can’t walk freely. Zimbabwe which has had sanctions an d a bad name world wide is orderly and cleaner and tourists go there and we are still behind. I agree with Peter pan that the ZTB logo is childish and the slogan is rubbish. ZTB just wasted money for nothing. Even a grade 7 would have come up wih a better logo and slogan like Zambia the peaceful nation in Africa or Zambia the friendly nation in Africa etc.

    CTimothy – November 14, 2012

    Check the stats for South Africa tourist arrivals you empty head, they are nowhere near 36 million.

    Lorie Grey – November 14, 2012

    HH is the President Zambia needs,Zambia needs HH more than HH needs Zambia,HH has a future to offer to Zambians,HH is a role model to the young people.HH has proved that you don’t need to be a Politician to be successful. what have we Zambian people got against educated successful people with business oriented minds and agricultural backgrounds. Let us start voting for people who have made a success out of their lives, we stand a better chance of seeing success than with someone whose failed with their own life, doesn’t have a single cow, never farmed before nor a simple Ntemba.Zambians Open your eyes not or the seek of your Tribe/Province but for a Better Zambia that will all be inclusive:

    concernedcitizen – November 14, 2012

    If you know what to do why not join Ztb and give them ideas?

    Prince 2 – November 14, 2012

    I agree with you. We have too many ARM-CHAIR critics who have nothing to show for what they have done or can do.

    Zaza – November 14, 2012


    PROPHET K – November 14, 2012

    I cannot agree more with the author, spot on!

    Maiko Zulu – November 14, 2012

    Being ruled by the incarnation of the second coming of Idi Amin and Bokasa puts off tourists. Masebo can help by offering her bed to every male tourist who visits the country but the biggest turn off is UKWA CNP OF CHITULIKA VILLAGE THE SERIAL PHILANDERER DESPITE HAVING NO ERECTABLE APPENDAGES DOWN THERE.

    Lyelela Lyambai – November 14, 2012

    At one time their website still had flight schedules for Zambia Airways that had been liquidated many years before. How could anyone have failed to notice that? In 2001 we applauded ourselves for the revenue we earned from the eclipse of the sun. But did anyone bother to find out how much we could have earned had we been prepared. We turned away hundreds of scientists because we could not clear land on which they could pitch their tents, mount their gear and observe the sky. They didnt need to be in hotels for goodness sakes. They were observing the sky!!! Why do we always have stupid people in charge?

    Teddy Bear Sweetness – November 14, 2012

    Zambia has to learn lessons from other African countries and use the local people to promote Zambian tourism.The focus by ZNTB on international fairs when local buses never run on time is a waste of taxpayers money.

    Only three weeks ago I met Canadian tourists in a neighbouring country and they were complaining about a Zambian minibus driver who had left tourists in the bush after an accident to Mfuwe.These tourists said they would never come back to Zambia again.

    How can we expect tourists to come and travel by public transport when our bus drivers,conductors and their luggage assigstance are so rude.

    As for ZNTB,personally think the whole organisation needs a complete overhaul.

    Pimbi Mano – November 14, 2012

    Zambia’s tourism profile was on the rise but seems to have taken a nose dive since a certain testicleless man took over. We will see what the prostitute -in- chief Masebo will do to rectify the situation (she might offer her bed to every male visitor to the country) but being led by a Idi Amin type buffoon does not help matters no matter how many times Lubinda does a bungee jump.

    Lyelela Lyambai – November 14, 2012

    Dream on!!!

    Zozo – November 14, 2012

    Tourism starts at home.
    We have had 5 Presidents, only 3 used the tourist lodges for holiday. The present one goes to India, Chiluba went to Ndola.
    How many Zambians have been to A safari, or seen Vic Falls?
    They all go to Dubai!

    THE SAINT – November 14, 2012

    Tourism is not about slogans——its about offering quality experience to tourists,—who in turn go to promote their experience to the world such as security, infrastructure, unique services, cleanliness, good attitudes of the citizens, orderliness, etc. Unfortunately, Zambia lacks in most if not all of the aspects.

    blago – November 14, 2012

    You can not expect to claim a share of international tourists if as government policy we promote disorder and filth by allowing vendors on the streets! So narrow in how we perceive ourselves as players on the international tourism stage. We have to get the basics right.

    Fundango – November 14, 2012

    This was a total failure. Who in their right mind can hire Congolase musicians to perfom at a Zambian Tuarism event? Only Evans Muhanga can think that way. The guy failed at Airtel and he was fired, has failed at ZNTB and now he is marketing Director for Zamtel

    Gugulethu – November 14, 2012

    The entire ZTB marketing strategy is a disaster and a waste of money.The logo is childish, the slogan is rubbish

    peter pan – November 14, 2012

    PETER PAN: you are etirely right! the logo is rubish, the slogan stupid. What silliness is this? “Zambia – Lets Explore.” the previous ones were even more attractive “Zambia in the Sun”; “Zambia, the Real Africa” although they were all directed at foreign visitors.

    What is Zambia’s brand?

    Peaceful smiling people; more than 10 pretty water falls across the country; the Mosi O Tunya; Huge concentration of wild life in more than 17 game parks; more than 7 lakes; mild and predictable temperatures; undulating landscapes; more than 50 traditional ceremonies (some of them relevant to neighbouring countries: Zimbabwe, DRC, Malawi, Mozambique, Angola, Namibia, Botswana, Lesotho, Swaziland, RSA); historical sites: Niamukolo Church; Chikumbi massacres, House no. 150 Maramba road in Chilenje where the future president of Zimbabwe, Herbert Witshire Chitepo, was assassinated; First President Kaunda; Dag Hammarskjoeld crash site; Urban life: more than 40 towns where 48% of Zambians live; Mining activities in three provinces; Three high quality universities: UNZA, CBU, MU; Farming activities (peasant and commercial);Fishing; Zambian foods; Our pretty slim women and male hunks.

    How can a sane ZNTB fail to market all this, and much more?

    T B Joshua (Zambia) – November 14, 2012

    Give them one if you are serious – they can pay you.

    Zaza – November 14, 2012

    its just follow through that we really lack i wonder why great ideas die natural deaths in this country, lets get past that short term focus then we will be good to go

    snatchead – November 14, 2012

    Excellent observations! Masebo is busy touring and showing off on TV! Zambian ministers must know work is in the office! With internet, you don’t have to move an inch. Too old fashioned

    Zedtourist – November 14, 2012

    Mark my words. No amount of rebranding will bring in more tourists for as long as Zambia remains the most dirty and expensive nation to visit in Southern Africa.

    chapwachapwa – November 14, 2012

    Right on. I just see ZTB officials through their individual web pages having a good time trotting all over the world! Fire everyone at ZTB or give them diplomatic jobs. Employ ONLY white Zambians Zambians and let them run the show till UNWTO. We blacks CANNOT! How can we if we cannot clean streets and toilets? Zimbabwe is now receiving nine hundred thousand tourists and rising

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