THE Livingstone Tourism Association (LTA) has urged the Government to expedite the yellow fever impasse with the South Africa following the declaration of Zambia as yellow fever-free zone by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Zambian authorities had since written to their South African counterparts and were currently awaiting a response on the issue. South Africa is one of the countries where travellers from Zambia were required to possess yellow fever certification documents upon entry into that country.

LTA chairperson Alex Mutali said it was important for the Government to implement the resolutions that were made by WHO because it was impacting negatively on the growth of the tourism sector.

Mr Mutali said the yellow fever requirement was also impacting on the performance of the Universal Visa (Univisa) which was jointly launched almost a month ago by Zambia and Zimbabwe.

He said travellers passing through South Africa into Zimbabwe and Zambia were required to have a yellow fever certificate despite them having a Univsa.

"Government must move with speed on this issue and engage South Africa. You must understand that South Africa is into competition with us and the Ministry of Health must act fast to resolve this issue.

It is no longer a WHO issue but an issue between Zambia and South Africa, even travelers with the Univsa are restricted from entering Zambia because they are required to pay an extra US$100 for the yellow fever certification," Mr Mutali said.

He said the yellow fever certification requirement was working against Zambia and making the country an expensive tourism destination.

According to Zambia Tourism Board, the removal of the yellow fever vaccination certificate requirement by South Africa increase international tourist arrival figures by at least 10 per cent.

Source: Victoria Falls Bits and Bobs