BUUMBA CHIMBULU writes
GOVERNMENT should extend the number of visa days for emerald international buyers to at least one year from the current 30 days to promote tourism by allowing these investors to stay in Zambia for a longer period, says Emeralds and Semi-Precious Mining Association of Zambia (ESMAZ) president, Victor Kalesha
Mr Kalesha said international buyers were currently unable to visit Zambia’s tourism attractions due to limited number of days required to stay in the country.
He explained in an interview that investors had to share the 30 days for about four auctions sales in a year.
“So for us to have maximum benefits from these buyers, we appeal to ministry of Home Affairs to increase the number of visa days for these investors so that we drive from them when they are in Zambia,
“The current 30 days is not enough, we appeal that they give between six months to one year so that they are able to do as many things as they want to do,” he said.
Mr Kalesha complained that some investors had indicated that they had never been to some of the most talked about tourist attractions such as the Victoria Falls and yet they had visited Zambia for many years.
“We would like to appeal to Government to consider extending the visas for international buyers that come into Zambia when there are international auctions for emeralds,
“Investors quickly come in, bid and buy and go back for fear of wasting days so we appeal that the tourism industry also needs to benefit,” Mr Kalesha said.
He said Zambia would this year have four gemstone auction sales organized by Kagem and Grizzly Limited.
“The buyers are only given 30 days in a year and currently we have about four auctions sales between Kagem and Grizzly so as such the buyers have to divide the 30 days in four. This means they only have five days to stay in Zambia,” he said