Zambia’s northern circuit will support several investments in the tourism and transport sectors once the runway at Kasama Airport has been completed.
Government has invested in infrastructure development at Kasama Airport including a 45 m x 4, 600 m bituminous runway and a terminal building.
Anhui Shu’an Construction Group, a Chinese company, has been engaged to construct the bituminous runway.
A local contractor has already finished constructing a terminal building with local and international lounges, a VIP lounge and offices for Proflight Zambia, a local airline.
The region covering Northern, Luapula and Muchinga provinces has several waterfalls owing to Muchinga Escapement that was formed several millions ago owing to volcanic eruptions.
Another tourist attraction that was formed as a result of volcanic eruptions millions of years ago is Lake Tanganyika, the deepest freshwater lake in Africa.
It is capable of supporting submarine tourism and water-based sporting for both foreign and local tourists.
Lake Tanganyika’s southern tip is backed by Sumbu National Park, which several animals including elephants, monkeys, waterbucks and impalas.
Completion of the runway at Kasama Airport would create opportunities in international airline and local charter operations.
Kasama started as a military base for the British colonial government during World War One, but was used mostly during World War Two.
It was transformed into a landing facility in civil aviation after Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia) obtained independence from Britain on October 24, 1964.
However, Zambia’s aviation industry nose-dived following the liquidation of Zambia Airways in 1994.
That resulted in the closure of the fuel depot, which was run by British Petroleum (BP) Air and later ceded to the Zambia Air Force.
A fuel depot is an investment that airport manager Raphael Sakala identified.
The Ministry of Tourism and Arts has listed several investment opportunities in the Guide to Investment Opportunities in the Tourism Sector.
There will be need for hotels, site camps as well land-based and air charter services.
Incentives for investments exceeding US$ 500 000 enjoy exemptions from paying tax on dividends for five years after starting their businesses.
Others are zero-rating import duty taxes on capital and machinery for five years after establishing their businesses.
A notable non-fiscal incentive is facilitation of the Zambia Development Agency in acquiring land, electricity connections and licences for investors.
Kasaba Bay Resort Project is a major investment in the northern circuit.
”Kasaba Bay Tourism Resort Project is located in parts of Sumbu National Park, Tondwa and Kaputa game management areas,” says the tourism investment publication.
The area s endowed with immense resources including Lake Tanganyika and natural heritage sites comprising unexploited waterfalls and hot springs.
Notable waterfalls in the area are the Lumangwe, miniature Victoria Fall, and Kalambo, the highest in the country with a single drop of 321 m.
Air transport in the northern circuit has improved with the opening up of Mbala Airport to civilian aircraft.
Mbala Airport, like Kasama Airport, started as a military base during World War One.
It one of the first airfield on the continent, others being Cape Town in South Africa and Cairo in Egypt.
By HUMPHREY NKONDE