PLANS to build a convention centre to host international conferences in Siavonga have received a major boost after the local town council secured land for the construction. The facility would enhance the growth of the meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (MICE) which is a lucrative part of tourism
across the globe.
“We need to build a big convention centre which can accommodate over 1 000 delegates,” Given Kwapu, the council chairperson, said.
“Siavonga district has all it takes to host an international conference. So what we can do now is to find a developer that can work with us to build a convention centre,” Kwapu said.
The land has been secured near Manchinchi junction along Siavonga-Lusaka highway.
Kwapu said a team, to be called “conference hunters” will be constituted to source for conferences, market and offers to host events once the convention centre is built. He noted that Siavonga was missing out on hosting MICE events as local lodges and hotels did not have enough facilities for conferences.
Some prospective clients were thus hosting their workshops in Livingstone, which is four hours away.
“That’s the reason why we really want that facility like tomorrow,” Kwapu said.
Stakeholders in the tourist town have welcomed the idea of having a convention centre in Siavonga.
Steve Thompson, Siavonga Tourism and Business Development (STBD) chairperson, said the facility would be used for large-scale events and conferences by the private sector and government.
“It will bring business or industry professionals together to discuss important issues or topics in their field and many more. This is the kind of development that we want here in the tourist town,” he said.
Tikambilani Banda, Hotel and Catering Association in Zambia (HCAZ) Siavonga district chairperson, forecast the convention centre to host international events.
“We will also be able to organize international exhibitions in the convention centre to attract foreigners while they get to experience Siavonga’s uniqueness. The visitors will become unofficial ambassadors
of Siavonga when they return to their respective countries,” he added.
– CAJ News