Your resource for tourism in Zambia
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Welcome to Zambia!
VisitZambia.info will eventually develop into a comprehensive resource for tourists to and within Zambia, and a place for Zambian tourism operators to market themselves to potential tourists. When this project launches, tourism operators will be divided into the following categories:
What are ordinary Zambians in the private sector, both inside Zambia and out, doing to support the "Visit Zambia 2005" campaign? There's a lot of talk out there, hot air being published in print and on-line, but where's the action? How do Zambian tourism operators get the "Visit Zambia" message out to tourists worldwide, enticing them to this beautiful country, not just in what is left of 2005, but in 2006, 2007, and beyond? For that matter, how do they get the message out to those who live here? The answer lies on the Internet.
Tourists and travel agents alike turn to the Web as their first source of information on a potential destination for themselves or their clients, and they use e-mail for fast, efficient and inexpensive communication to have their questions answered and their impressions confirmed. But how many tourism operators (owners of hotels, lodges, guest houses, restaurants, tour operators, travel agencies, etc.) use this tool to its maximum potential, or at all? The answer is, "Not enough."
There is apparently still a mystique surrounding "getting on the Internet", an impression that it costs tens of millions of kwacha and a degree in rocket science to set up a simple Web site. But it doesn't have to be that way. To be sure, there are many very bad Web sites out there, hosted on "free" services (if you, the tourism operator, don't mind subjecting potential clients to somebody else's banner and pop-up advertisements) and created by a friend's teenaged son or daughter for the cost of a night of all-you-can-eat pizza. These Web sites instantly turn off your potential clientele, who hit the back button on their Web browser and look for a Web site that presents a more professional image.
But VisitZambia.info is aiming to change that. A partnership between "The Lowdown" in Zambia and NinerNet Communications in Canada, the goal of VisitZambia.info is simple and clear: "Provide to Zambian tourism operators the means to market themselves, by harnessing the power and cost-efficiency of the Internet to take their message to tourists in Zambia and throughout the rest of the world."
The concept is also simple. NinerNet is developing a system whereby Zambian tourism operators can register their own domain (an important step in creating a professional image on the Internet) and then, using only their Web browser, create a template-driven Web site that has already been professionally designed; all it needs is the words and pictures that will make that Web site a unique "Internet brochure" that can be found and viewed quickly and easily by potential tourists, wherever they may be. Integral to these Web sites will be the ability to contact the tourism operators via e-mail (while protecting them from the scourge of "spam", masses of unsolicited bulk e-mail), so that the tourism operator has a chance to further demonstrate how welcome tourists are in Zambia and to conclude the deal.
What the tourism operator has here is a system that, essentially, allows you to conduct a sales presentation (possibly in another time zone while you are actually in bed sleeping) in the home of someone looking for a place to spend a holiday, and then gives you the opportunity to conclude the deal with the personal touch. On that last point, nobody is going to plonk down their credit card on-line simply based on your Web site; they are going to contact you via e-mail (through your Web site) to feel you out first, perhaps even pick up the phone to talk to you. These are highly qualified prospective visitors to Zambia.
Adding to your credibility will be the growing network of tourism operators that will be featured on the VisitZambia.info Web site, all of whom will link back to VisitZambia.info. This Web site is an integral part of the plan to promote Zambia. This is not a free-for-all page of links; it is a directory of tourism operators who have qualified themselves by being willing to invest in their marketing efforts. It is already linked to by a number of highly-trafficked Web sites related to Zambia, and it will continue to grow as more and more Zambian tourism operators realise the intrinsic value of using the Internet as a powerful, efficient, and cost-effective, international marketing tool.