Posted by: wildsidezambia | January 20, 2011

Not even elephants can prevent Livingstone airport upgrade!

This is an article that appeared in South Africa’s Tourism Update today:

Construction of a US$12m (R83m) new international terminal building is under way at Livingstone International Airport in Zambia. Agness Chaila, Planning & Business Development Manager National Airports Corporation Limited explains the new terminal building will be developed in two phases. The first phase, which should be completed by April 2012, entails construction of a new terminal building concourse, administration wing, departure lounge and all core commercial areas and access roads. Funding has been secured from the Zambia National Commercial Bank and amounts to $6,6m (R45m).

The second phase will comprise the arrival hall, drop-off zone and the walkways with an estimated cost of $5,1m (R35m). Chaila says: “The new international terminal is designed to hold projected growth in passenger movement up to 2029.”

The airport has been facing several challenges over the past few years, including problems with elephant encroachment. Chaila says: “Livingstone International Airport lies in the Elephant corridor and the animals normally pass through during the night. There is a wildlife management plan in place, which is used to mitigate the movements of the elephants. This management plan is in partnership with the Zambia Wildlife Authority.”

Local tourism industry players welcome the expansion of the airport and the new terminal. John Ridler, Media and PR Manager Thompsons Holidays, says: “Livingstone Airport was originally built in 1950 and despite numerous upgrades, it is showing its age.” Ridler says the building of a new terminal reflects both the steadily increasing tourist arrivals and a commitment by government to offer modern facilities. “Airports create your first impression of a country on arrival and a new terminal will certainly instil confidence in tourists.”

Karien Kermer, MD of Wild Side Tours/WHL in Zambia, says the airport needs upgrading to meet the international demands and expectations of the growing numbers of visitors from all over the world. “International flights tend to arrive around the same time in the late morning at Livingstone and a second terminal would certainly help towards swiftly processing the passengers.”

Kermer says Livingstone definitely has the capacity to handle more tourists. “A number of top-class hotels have been added to the accommodation mix in the last decade. There are currently around 3 000 beds available in Livingstone.” According to Kermer, the Zambian Ministry of Tourism is working on simplifying the licensing process for new operators and major hotel chains have already shown interest in building hotels in Livingstone.

Kermer warns, however, that upgrading the airport is only one of the necessary steps. “Local government now needs to focus on upgrading the infrastructure, in particular the roads, in town. Work has been done on the main road through town but still more needs to be done.” She adds that if the government could waive the visa system, it would be a welcome gesture.

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    1. From: Harold Mweene, Ministry of Tourism Livingstone
      Thanks for the communication and I wish to congratulate your for the initiative that will contribute significantly in disseminating tourism infomation in Zambia. Indeed the expansion of the airport will facilitate the movement of tourists into Livingstone and surrounding.
      I should however, suggest that in you next article you may include other programmes related to the requisite infrastructure that will be expected to link Livingstone as the tourist hub to other tourist sites such as KNP (Kalomo-Dundumwezi) and Sioma Ngwezi (Sesheke-Senanga) and other tourist access roads. Further, the Ministry of Tourism is in the process of developing a Tourism Area Action Plan for Greater Livingstone (TAAP – GL).

    2. This is a great initiative …and great content. Congratulations.

    3. Thank you for this news about modernisation of the airport. We have very special memories of our stay in Livingstone and we have found the treatment of tourists very friendly. This has to be one of the most important things, because it makes one feel welcome! But of course the country has so much to offer and the Wildlife is especially something to be extremely protective about! It is one of the most important features of Africa and we would like to return to your beautiful country to taste more of what we would call : “Oer-natuur”..! It has all become too cultivated in places and what we would look for is Nature as it has presented itself for centuries and long before people rediscovered it..

      Many greetings and thank you for your news and for sharing your vision with us! Ann van der kraan

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