Tourist expectations and satisfaction in Zambia : implications for tourism developmen

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Mwale, Titus
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For a long time, Zambia's economic policies disregarded other sectors of the economy in favour of copper mining as the sole foreign exchange earner. The tourism industry has been among the most neglected sectors. It should not be surprising therefore that very little published research has addressed international tourism as a marketing problem. As a result the contribution of tourism to the national economy remained unsatisfactory. The decline of Zambia's copper industry in the late 1970's and the recognition of the impact of tourism on the destination (i.e. a place or country offering tourist services and facilities for the consumption of the tourists) highlighted the need for the diversification of the economy and the re-appraisal of the economic policies. Zambia's new economic policy especially the Fourth National Development Plan's (FNDP's) New Economic Recovery Plan (NERP) recognizes the need for the development of tourism as an alternative to copper and has been placed as the number two priority after agriculture. The new policy therefore has created the need for market research on tourism for its effective marketing so as to increase tourist flows to Zambia. To determine tourist expectations and satisfaction in Zambia, this study used market research and asked the tourists for their opinions and experiences after their vacations in Zambia. The study has revealed that tourism consumption is dominated by tourists from the western countries (92/<>). For this reason, it is recommended that tourist promo-tional campaigns must be directed towards this market segment. It has also been established through the tourists that accommodation in Zambia is expensive compared to Kenya, and that it does not measure up to the expectations of the tourists. Domestic consumption is low and this situation is attributed to the high prices of food, accommodation and transport. It has therefore been recommended that the cost of food, accommodation and transport should be reviewed so that local tourism is boosted. Cleanliness and expansion in accommodation are also called for. Variety of food in hotels, lodges and camps is also a must. The study has also shown that Zambia faces very stiff competition from Kenya and Zimbabwe where tourist facilities are more diversified, and that Zambia does not advertise herself extensively or aggressively enough abroad. For Zambia to compete effectively, it has to diversify the attractions, especially through the promotion of cultural attractions to foreigners. In addition, there is need for Zambia to advertise itself extensively abroad and to participate in tourist fairs abroad. Detailed information about Zambia must also be provided. It was also established that Zambia cannot participate effectively in international mass tourism because the accommodation available cannot support it. In addition, both road and air transport are inefficient and the majority of tourists experienced transport problems. On the positive side, the study established that Zambia is hospitable to tourists. On tourist satisfaction, the study established that the majority: (a) were satisfied with tourist attractions; (b) enjoyed the vacation, (c) were satisfied with the vacation as a whole, (d) agreed that the food served met their tastes and (e) felt that their expectations were fulfilled and expressed the desire to come back to Zambia again. To effectively promote tourism, these positive attributes must be retained and reinforced.
Tourism development--Zambia