The Zambian travel and tourism industry largely depends on the availability of efficient and effective infrastructure across the country. This infrastructure includes roads, power supply, lodges and airports. Above all, telecommunication plays a vital role in the development of such infrastructure and the overall performance of the sector at national, regional and international levels. Specific ICT services such as mobile communications, broadcasting networks, electronic facilities and services add immense value to the desired performance of the sector.
Zambias most famous tourist destination, Livingstone, has seen an increase in communication facilities over the years including international roaming service on major GSM networks thus increasing the flexibility and convenience especially for international tourists. Special attention is needed to rollout communication facilities in other important destinations especially in national parks as part of a comprehensive programme to upgrade facilities in various upmarket tourist destinations. This is so because Zambia will for a long time to come depend on wildlife based tourism. Therefore, ICTs can trigger enormous investments especially in wildlife based tourist destinations and contribute to general improvement of commerce, travel and tour operations.
However, the proliferation of ICT equipment such as computers and other accessories requires special effort to mitigate any negative impacts on the environment and natural resources. Therefore, environmental strategies need to be adopted at an early stage in the acquisition, manufacture and disposal of ICT products.
Notwithstanding the above situation, the industry faces a number of challenges that are constraining the development of the sector and limiting its contribution to national development. Some of these include:
- Limited and inadequate ICT infrastructure, which presents significant barriers to the deployment of value-added ICT services and effective application of ICTs in the sector;
- Lack of adequate, reliable, timely and relevant information on tourism products and services including lack of information on tourist destinations available in the country;
- Lack of proper ICT hardware and accessory disposal mechanisms and/or recycling technologies.