Zambia Value Chain Analysis

Zambia’s tourism sector value chain was researched to identify the obstacles and opportunities for the CBI to create a more competitive and sustainable tourism value chain and increase the potential for SMEs to expand their exports to Europe.

The Brief

The CBI, The Centre for the Promotion of Imports from Developing Countries (Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs), operated a tourism sector Export Coaching Programme in Zambia from 2013-1017. They wanted to establish whether there was a need for a second programme and if so what CBI should invest in to deliver maximum benefit. To find out, they commissioned Acorn Tourism to undertake a Value Chain Analysis of Zambia’s tourism sector to establish whether there was a business case for investing in a Zambian Sustainable Tourism Development Project for 2019-2022.

Our Solution

In 2018 the Zambia Tourism Master Plan 2018-23 was published by the Ministry of Tourism and Arts, providing a framework for the development of Zambia’s tourism sector. Acorn undertook a review and analysis of this new strategic framework and the supporting market research, before consulting with 100 public and private sector stakeholders. During the first of two field trips, face-to-face meetings were conducted with stakeholders in Lusaka, Livingstone and South Luangwa to establish the key issues faced by small Zambian tourism business who wanted to expand their businesses in Europe.


Thirty inbound tour operators, small lodge owners and safari guides were interviewed together with the representatives from the sector’s supporting organisations and enabling environment including the Ministry of Tourism, Zambia Tourism Agency, Department of National Parks and Wildlife, conservation organisations, the private sector associations including the Tourism Council of Zambia, the Livingstone Tourism Association, arts and crafts organisations and Livingstone Museum.


Based on a thorough understanding of the new Tourism Master Plan and insights from the business community, Acorn drafted initial recommendations for CBI interventions in the sector. These recommendations were tested at two stakeholder validation workshops, one in the capital Lusaka and the other in Livingstone, southern Zambia.


To address the obstacles in Zambia’s tourism value chain, Acorn identified seven key opportunities that CBI could support in order to create a more competitive and sustainable value chain by:


  • Maximising the potential for SMEs to expand exports to Europe including focusing on innovative market-led product development
  • Strengthening travel trade export promotion
  • Initiating tourism sector development in new areas with strong potential
  • Improving service quality and sustainability practices across the sector
  • Establishing collaborative destination development
  • Strengthening the management of the tourism sector and improving marketing to increase demand for Destination Zambia.


The recommendations were approved by the CBI and the second tourism export coaching and technical assistance programme is expected to begin in 2019.