Tourism in Zambia

Zambia recorded a total of 502,000 tourists in 2020, ranking 127th in the world in absolute terms.

That smaller countries regularly perform lower in a comparison of the absolute number of guests, is obvious. By putting the tourist numbers in relation to the population of Zambia, the result is much more comparable picture: With 0.026 tourists per resident, Zambia ranked 162nd in the world. In Eastern Africa, it ranked 10th.

In 2019, Zambia generated around 820.00 million US dollars in the tourism sector alone. This corresponds to 3.7 percent of its the gross domestic product and approximately 5 percent of all international tourism receipts in Eastern Africa.

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Back to overview: Zambia

On average, each of the tourists arriving in 2019 spent about 615 US dollars.

Development of the tourism sector in Zambia from 1995 to 2020

The following chart shows the number of tourist arrivals registered in Zambia each year. Anyone who spends at least one night in the country but does not live there for more than 12 months is considered a tourist. Insofar as the survey included the purpose of the trip, business trips and other non-tourism travel purposes have already been excluded. The number of people passing through within the same day, and e.g., crew members of ships or flights are also not considered tourists in most countries. If the same person travels in and out more than once within the same year, each visit counts again.

The red line represents the average of all 16 countries in Eastern Africa.

Tourists per year in Zambia

Revenues from tourism

In 1997, tourism revenues amounted to 29.00 million USD, or about 0.67 percent of the gross national product. This corresponded to about 341,000 tourists at that time and roughly 85 USD per person. Within 22 years, the country's dependence on tourism has increased drastically. Before the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, sales were $820.00 million billion, 3.5 percent of gross national product. Thus, each visitor spent an average of $648 on their vacation in Zambia.

Full figures for 2020, the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, are not currently available. However, national and international travel has been restricted worldwide, and some countries have even been closed off from the outside world altogether. Dramatic revenue losses are expected, with some countries experiencing losses of up to more than 80%.

Tourism receipts in Zambia per year

All data for Zambia in detail

YearNumber of touristsReceipts% of GNPReceipts per tourist
20191.27 m820.00 m $3.5 %648 $
20181.07 m742.00 m $2.8 %692 $
20171.01 m653.00 m $2.5 %647 $
2016956,000683.00 m $3.3 %714 $
2015932,000660.00 m $3.1 %708 $
2014947,000642.00 m $2.4 %678 $
2013915,000552.00 m $2.0 %603 $
2012859,000518.00 m $2.0 %603 $
2011920,000555.00 m $2.4 %603 $
2010815,000492.00 m $2.4 %604 $
2009710,000474.00 m $3.1 %668 $
2008812,000542.00 m $3.0 %667 $
2007897,000599.00 m $4.3 %668 $
2006757,000506.00 m $4.0 %668 $
2005669,000447.00 m $5.4 %668 $
2004515,00092.00 m $1.5 %179 $
2003413,00088.00 m $1.8 %213 $
2002565,00064.00 m $1.5 %113 $
2001492,00080.00 m $2.0 %163 $
2000457,00067.00 m $1.9 %147 $
1999404,00053.00 m $1.6 %131 $
1998362,00040.00 m $1.1 %110 $
1997341,00029.00 m $0.67 %85 $

Our data on tourist numbers, revenues and expenditures are based on information from the World Tourism Organization. However, to ensure international comparability, the data for some years or countries were manually researched and corrected if they obviously included visitors without overnight stays. In these cases, the data were taken from the official communications of the respective national tourism authorities.

The World Tourism Organization additionally points out that in some countries, the number of tourists is only counted at airports, while in others they are also counted at border crossings or even hotels. A comprehensive and reliable indication is therefore hardly possible in any country.

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