Fri, 22 Jan 2021

Siamunzu Chimbamumbamu, a Zambian curio trader, displays his merchandise in Lusaka, capital of Zambia, on Dec. 15, 2020. (Xinhua/Lillian Banda)

Zambian curios and other handicrafts managed to navigate through the COVID-19 pandemic by taking their business to byways and around multi-class trading areas of Lusaka which has attracted more customers.

LUSAKA, Dec. 22 (Xinhua) -- The tourism industry is said to have been one of the most hard-hit by the COVID-19 pandemic mainly because of its dependency on the movement of people from one place to another.

This is particularly true for countries like Zambia, whose tourism sector largely depends on foreign tourists to survive as well as thrive.

However, a curio trader in Lusaka, Zambia's capital has managed to navigate through the global economic storm by employing unorthodox strategies, which have enabled them to not only stay in business but also thrive.

While many of the handicraft traders have stuck to their usual trading places that are frequented by individuals from affluent neighborhoods, Siamunzu Chimbamumbamu who makes curios decided to take his business to byways and around multi-class trading areas of Lusaka.

"In Zambia, curios and other handicrafts are often displayed in places considered to be upper-class trading areas and international tourist stop points. This has hindered ordinary people from buying these artifacts because they think they cannot afford them," Chimbamumbamu explained.

Siamunzu Chimbamumbamu, a Zambian curio trader, displays his merchandise in Lusaka, capital of Zambia, on Dec. 15, 2020. (Xinhua/Lillian Banda)

He revealed that since he and his team ventured out, his business has thrived to an extent that he has at times been overwhelmed with orders from customers needing a range of curios.

Chimbamumbamu also mentioned that Chinese nationals who, according to him, have demonstrated great admiration for Zambian handicrafts and culture in general and ordinary Zambians constituted the majority of his customers.

"Locals are becoming increasingly supportive of our business. Most of them stop by to inquire about the carvings after which they buy a curio or two. Many become regular customers that come back to buy some more items," he said.

He further urged entities and individuals in the tourism business to be innovative, stating that as the COVID-19 pandemic is still wreaking havoc, tourist-centered businesses stand a better chance of surviving if they cultivated local interest and reached out to the unreached.

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