LUSAKA, May 10 - Tourism should expand beyond established centres, Kasanka Trust Park manager Edmund Farmer has said. Talking to journalists at the Trust's Wasa Lodge in Kasanka National Park last Saturday, Farmer said tourism should spread out geographically to benefit more Zambians.
He said poaching had been the biggest threat and challenge.
He said the number of tourists, both local and international, visiting Kasanka National Park had increased over the past two years.
Farmer said the Trust had recorded a 40 per cent increment in revenue and attributed this to both the number of tourists and high value visitors to the park.
"We are now attracting visitors coming to Kasanka in November and December every year for the special bat migration," Farmer said.
He said Kasanka could not compete with established parks like the South Luangwa, although it had few unusual animals like bats that come from different places in Central and Southern Africa.
He explained that an American scientist was expected in the country this year to establish a satellite-tracking device to monitor the movements of the bats.
Farmer also said the Kasanka Trust had so far spent over US$1 million in conservation work and infrastructure development in the park.
He also said the increased publicity of the Visit Zambia 2005 campaign was encouraging.
"It is very encouraging to see tourism grow in Zambia. We hope to see expanded tourism beyond established centres," he said.
"We want tourism to spread to rural areas instead of just Livinsgtone and Luangwa which can run alone. We want it to expand geographically and benefit more people."
Farmer urged the government to develop tourism infrastructure in Northern, Luapula and North Western provinces.
"Tourism can be an important catalyst for rural development. I would like to see little tourism projects in rural areas linking these into a circuit to benefit Zambians," Farmer said.