Posted by: wildsidezambia | July 23, 2013

Livingstone undergoes radical facelift


Livingstone is hosting the United Nations World Tourism Organisation Conference, together with Victoria Falls, from 24-29 August.

And the changes that have already taken place in preparation to welcome several hundred international conference delegates are quite incredible!

There has been a huge change in the infrastructure in the town, starting with the resurfacing of the airport road as all as the main roads (including the infamous ‘bubblegum’ road towards the Falls!). A new $12m arrivals and departure hall is also under construction.

Livingstone's new airports building under construction at the Harry Mwaanga Nkumbula International Airport

Livingstone’s new airports building under construction at the Harry Mwaanga Nkumbula International Airport (photo Gill Staden)

Many of the minor roads have also been tarred and drainage has been put into place. Lots of new trees have been planted. Most of the buildings have received a new coat of paint and there is improvement visible everywhere. A new cultural centre is being built and there is talk of a big new conference venue for the future.

Zambia’s domestic airline, Proflight, has acquired a bigger plane and therefore more capacity for connecting flights from the capital Lusaka. Kenyan Airways have recently added Livingstone to their route and National Airports is negotiating with another three international airlines to fly into Livingstone.

Says Karien: “The face of Livingstone has already been changed and the best news for the tourism industry is that eventually the Zambian Government has accepted the idea of tourism being an important industry for the country.

“Tourism was previously never on the Government’s priority list, but now that the interest has been created Government is doing their bit to make it work. Apart from the new infrastructure, there have been many workshops for employees in the tourism industry from front office, to food and beverage, to marketing to raise the standard. Through radio communication with the Livingstone community there is now awareness throughout the town that everybody is part of this great new opportunity and not just the private operators of hotels and activity providers.

“For very many years street vendors crowded the pavements in front of shops, trading illegally and making the place look dirty with all the rubbish that was thrown into the gutters. They have all been removed and will get space in the new market.

“The more professional approach by not just the people involved in the tourism industry but the Zambian people as a whole together with the new tourism infrastructure will greatly benefit visitors.

“Now that there is so much awareness within government there will no doubt be a big change noticeable within the Government institutions that has been making entering Zambia a major headache. The visa requirements for many countries have been changed to make it easier to visit. Entering by vehicle will in the future also be made easier as there is talk within Government that changes are urgently needed.

“The offerings for visitors to Livingstone have already been plentiful for many years. There is enough to do for a visitor for a week or more, not just as an extension on a southern African holiday but as a holiday destination as a whole. With a short visit to any of our interesting neighbouring countries, Zimbabwe, Namibia and Botswana, not even an hours’ drive away at the most, we have quite a few added extra’s as well. Livingstone itself has had for many years a lot to offer, be it adrenalin activities or wildlife viewing and interaction, cultural visits, the Victoria Falls of course and the Zambezi River and natural beauty in general, the list is endless.

“We see it all as very positive and are already very happy with the many changes the town has seen in such a short span of time”, says Karien.

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