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Sample Research Proposal on TOURISM INDUSTRY IN ZAMBIA

Chapter 1 – Background to the Study

The Zambian economy has historically been based on the copper-mining industry, which is done the Copperbelt. Output of copper had fallen, however, to a low of 228,000tonnes in 1998, continuing a 30-year decline in output due to lack of investment, and more recently, low copper prices and uncertainty over privatization. In 2001, the first full year of a privatized industry, Zambia recorded its first year of increased productivity since 1973. The future of the copper industry in Zambia was thrown into doubt in January 2002, when investors in Zambia's largest copper mine announced their intention to withdraw their investment. Zambia now needs to depend on other tourism activities to help the economy.

The main objective of this study is to investigate Zambia's policy on tourism, and explore mechanisms available to promote this industry elsewhere by identifying tourist attraction areas, and instituting lasting policies by the government, which has the potential of being Zambia's best export, and be a better substitute for copper in enhancing the GNP of the country. The study attempts to examine this in the light of local and international investment for the country, and determine why tourism is a major source of income for the Zambian government. The study will address tourism in relation to offer employment to the locals and address the policies regarding the industry. This study will also address the reason why the Zambian government needs to redesign its policy on licensing, and taxes to favor the growth of both the small, medium and foreign enterprises.

 

Chapter 2 – Literature review

The numbers of international visitors to Zambia has, comparatively, never been high, averaging about 350,000 a year over the last decade. In 1994, the World Bank's International Development Association has approved a $150 million credit package for Zambia's economic restructuring program. The financial assistance could be used by Zambia as a source of foreign exchange for the purchase of goods and services. In return for the aid, the government has promised to pursue continued economic stability, the improvement of welfare services and the strengthening of the private sector (African Business, 1994).

In 2000, land seizures, violence, clampdowns on opposition groups and newspapers, a collapsed economy and widespread insecurity came to Zambia. Tourism all but dried up. The drop in visitor numbers has been particularly noticeable from commonwealth countries (Vesely, 2004).

            Fortunately for southern Africa and the tourism industry as a whole, Zambia has stepped into the breach. The world famous Victoria Falls are a wonder of nature that many international tourists still want to experience. For Zambia, Mugabe's disruptive presidency and policies are therefore a windfall (Vesely, 2004). In more recent years there has been a steady, significant growth in tourism to Zambia providing many economic and social benefits to a country that is classified as one of the 49 'Least Developed Countries' in the world (Business Wire, 2006).   

But tourism to Zambia continues to grow only because of the increasing demand from the long-haul travel sector as well as demand from within the region eager to capitalise on the country's core tourism products (Business Wire, 2006). The tourism industry in Zambia is still struggling even with the slowly increasing growth of tourism. This is due to several factors.

            Zambia is one of the worst cases of economic decline and build up of foreign debt in Africa. Like most African countries, it has undergone a series of adjustment programmes to restore economic equilibrium and growth. There has been progress with regard to some macroeconomic balances such as the external account, but there has not been any vigorous investment response.

The extra resources have primarily been used to restore the external balance, and since Zambia had built up large foreign debts before the adjustment efforts, most of the extra resources have had to be devoted to debt service. Thus, there are no resource that have been allocated to the tourism industry in Zambia. The resources have been instead appropriated on foreign debts that the country has acquired over the years.

This has meant that it has been very difficult to increase domestic investment from the previous extremely low levels (Bigsten, et al, 2000). How to achieve this is one of the most crucial questions with regard to the long-term development of the country. And without resources to support the tourism industry, it couldn't help to improve the struggling economy.

            In some African countries, such as Zambia, tourism is not only recognized as a priority sector by the Government, but as Zambian tourism is almost exclusively based on wildlife viewing, which obviously takes place in rural areas, tourism development contributes to increasing rural development, incomes and employment-all national economic objectives (Butler & Pearce, 1999).

            An impressive link between a luxury safari company and a local tourism initiative is bringing benefits to a small Zambian community. Suffering from the prolonged downturn in Zambia's economy, villagers were aware of the economic benefits wildlife tourism brought and wanted a piece of the economic action. Building on an already established link between Robin Pope Safaris (RPS) and the Kawaza school, which RPS had been donating to for ten years, a few villages decided to set up their own tourism initiative based on sharing the native Kunda culture and traditions with tourists (Wheat, 2000).

            In African countries, for instance Zambia, a 'privatization unit' is selling off the state's commercial assets such as copper mines to international and local private investors. In Zambia, although private sector companies were and are involved in the tourist sector, there was no representative body which had the recognized stature to provide an 'industry view'. Aided by development assistance, industry representative associations were initiated in the Zambia Tourism Council which in is being formally incorporated within the proposed Tourism and Hospitality Bill (Butler & Pearce, 1999).

A sizeable proportion of new forms of tourism in the Third World can be related directly to the burgeoning new middle classes of the First World. This group is being joined increasingly by new middle-class tourists from the Third World, most particularly from South-East Asia. This growth was also related to the increased interest in otherness, with a particular concern for ecology and ethnicity, both of which are found in plentiful quantities in the Third World. In addition, it was argued that central to the swelling ranks of the new middle classes is the necessity to differentiate socially from other social classes. This is most readily achieved through the construction of lifestyles, of which holidays are undeniably an important part (Mowforth & Munt, 2003).

Essentially, tourism development is all about implementation. Sound or even innovative projects have no impact on development unless they are implemented. Perhaps too much of the concern of academics is about impact rather than the process of implementation. The two aspects are inextricably linked because the process of implementation is itself a methodological issue which can directly affect the impact of what is done.

To have a more central role in formulating methodology would allow the academic a real-world participatory function which should benefit the project, and the experience gained would also benefit teaching and future research. There are considerable 'cross-over' benefits to be gained by both parties if the great divide can be effectively bridged.

This is perhaps the case for Zambia, the country has plans yet lack the proper implementation. Thus, it provides no effects of improvement on the tourism industry and in the economy as a whole.

The rate of growth of any economy is largely determined by the accumulation of physical and human capital, the efficiency of resource allocation, and the ability to acquire and apply modern technology. What is required for faster growth is change in the economic environment that facilitates both the accumulation of production factors and their efficient allocation, and the introduction of better technologies. This requires economic policies at the micro level to develop and sustain efficient markets, while macro policy must be geared to guarantee macroeconomic stability. An efficient economy also requires a supporting environment of efficient institutions (Bigsten, et al, 2000).

            Zambia may have some of the factors mentioned above that are needed for faster growth. But Zambia also has the disadvantage of not having some of them. For one, Zambia' tourism industry is a case of misallocation of resources. The tourism industry may not be dropping but yet its journey to the top and its effects on the Zambian economy is slow because of this misallocation of resources.

The Ministry of Tourism is giving out loans called TDCF to help Small Entrepreneurs to set up tourist facilities which are payable without interest. The ZAWA is leasing both local and international entrepreneurs with an encouragement of partnership between local and international investors.

 

Chapter 3 – Research objectives

            The paper will specifically (1) find an alternative source of income to supplement government revenue and possibly replace copper production, (2) assist in efforts to find further sources of employment in response to rising unemployment figures currently being experienced in Zambia, (3) contribute in creating a major tourism industry competitor in the form of Zambia, one that could effectively compete with the African market leaders like Kenya, (4) improve on the already existing expansion of the Tourism industry by way of research, and (5) find tourism sites affordable to people of lower incomes.

 

Chapter 4 – Research Methodology

            Data to be used in the study will be gathered from residents in Zambia. They would be the very ones to know about the tourism industry in their country. A list of residents mostly those who are working in the tourism industry like in the government and tourism parks will be included in the list before they are randomly selected.

            They will be asked about their views on the status of the tourism industry of the country, on Zambia's policy on tourism. They will be asked about their attitudes on how to best explore mechanisms available to promote this industry elsewhere by identifying tourist attraction areas, and instituting lasting policies by the government, which has the potential of being Zambia's best export, and be a better substitute for copper in enhancing the GNP of the country. They will also be asked about their attitudes as to why tourism is a major source of income for the Zambian government. Additionally, tourists will also be interviewed regarding their views on the tourism industry of the country. Aside from providing additional information, this can also provide comparison.

 

Data Collection

A random sample will be conducted, with a sample frame providing the names and addresses for all homes present in the district. The names, addresses, and phone numbers of households will be loaded into a spreadsheet and randomized. Participants of the study will be interviewed either in person or by phone. Aside from the interview, questionnaires will also be used to gather data. Informed consent from each participant will first be asked before data collection.

 

Method

            In investigating Zambia's policy on tourism as well as the mechanisms available to promote this industry by identifying tourist attraction areas and instituting lasting policies by the government, the researchers will use a combination of qualitative methods. The qualitative methodology that was employed in this research is appropriate since it seeks to interpret or illuminate the actions and/or objective and subjective experiences of the Zambian residents and tourists regarding their experiences with the country's tourism industry.


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