By Jeranimo Hlongo – Zambia
Preparations for an International Beer Festival aimed at promoting tourism and investment in the hospitality sector around Lake Kariba has reached an advanced stage.
Organizing committee Chairman Cephas Shonhiwa who is also coordinator for the Kariba Publicity Association disclosed that all the major preparations towards the successful hosting of the event have been put in place.
He was speaking in an interview in Siavonga after attending a preparatory meeting at Eagles Rest Hotel in Siavonga, he said Kariba and Siavonga share Lake Kariba hence their cultures and challenges are interlinked.
He said the festival slated for June 2018 will target revelers and Investors drawn from Zambia, Zimbabwe and international tour operators from around the globe.
Shonhiwa further disclosed that apart from the beer festival, the committee has also included an investor conference for businesses who are interested in venturing into the hospitality industry in Siavonga and Kariba Town in Zimbabwe.
He said the major aim of the event is to try and revive the dwindling fortunes in the tourism sector in the two towns around the largest man-made lake in the world.
He said his association, the Kariba Publicity Association will work closely with the Siavonga Business Association to lobby for the removal of restrictions between Siavonga and Kariba Town in order to make the two neighbouring tourists resort towns more attractive to both local and foreign visitors and tourists.
Also Karen Thompson who represented the Siavonga Business Association at the meeting said her association is delighted that finally investors from the two countries will be meeting to try and find a solution to the many challenges faced by the hospitality sector around Lake Kariba.
She said one of the things which her association feels should be tackled during the Conference, is the issue surrounding visas for British passport holders who are staying in Siavonga, but are required to pay in excess of $50.00 in order to cross into Kariba Town in Zimbabwe.
She further called for the waiver of border fees during the festival, just like was the arrangement between Livingstone and Victoria Falls during the UNWTO conference.
Thompson said there is need for dialogue between the two countries to deal with the issue of arrests on the Lake which she said was affecting the tour activities on the shared water body.