Livingstone’s Tourism Industry

Livingstone is known as the tourism capital of Zambia. This is due to its location near various national parks including the World Heritage Site, Victoria Falls. Victoria Falls is the country’s third largest industry only behind copper mining and agriculture. The city itself is completely reliant on this industry either directly or indirectly. Local villagers profit from the falls by selling merchandize to tourists. I don’t know if a better example of globalization exists than Zambia’s tourism industry. In a formerly isolated black country, it is now common to see white tourists on the streets. In the city, many locals work to attain desirable jobs in lodging and restaurants, while others try to sell any goods they may have to tourists on the streets. This has affected the village way of life visibly as locals exploit this new market. Though village life is common, they have also modernized due to western influence. For example, the Makuni village near Victoria Falls has a paved road leading to it, has walkway signs for its dirt trails and its chief owns his own vehicle. This success is largely due to the chief working with the tourism industry to arrange for foreigners to visit villages where the locals are more than happy to give tours and sell goods. The villagers benefit economically from this practice, but It is also changing the culture and identity of these people.

Most visitors come to Zambia to visit the grand Victoria Falls. This site is the major funder of the rest of the country’s 20 national parks due to the large amount of visitors is receives. One of the major faults in the industry is that the country’s other parks aren’t well advertized by the government either domestically or abroad.  The government doesn’t provide enough funding for brochures to be printed for display at the visitor centers or lodges. For example, even though Victoria Falls receive a lot of visitors, the park which surrounds the falls is hardly recognized by visitors. These are places where the industry could expand.

zambia

Empty picnic area, Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park

The other inhibitor to expansion is that most the money the tourism industry brings in goes to companies abroad. All lodges except one we visited were foreign owned. It’s one of the major hurdles a developing nation such as Zambia has to overcome. The lack of wealth in Zambia equates to a lack of domestic investment.

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