An Italian tourist who was swindled out of US$6,500 in Zambia said he will protest against Zambia at an international tourism exhibition in Italy next week. On February 17, the Zambia National Tourist Board will exhibit at the International Tourism Exchange in Milan, Italy, at BIT2011.
BIT2011 is an annual event for which there is a high level of expectancy from trade operators and travelers who want to see first-hand the range of tourist destinations all over the world. But Robert Tartaglia said he will attend this event just to explain to everybody how unsafe it is to go to Zambia.
Tartaglia was swindled out of US$6,500 by a Zambian tour operator called “Travel Centre” that was advertised on the website of the Zambia National Tourism Board. He has been trying to recover his money but to no avail, despite reporting the incident to the Zambian authorities.
Late last year, the Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC) arrested Clifford Zulu, director of Travel Centre, for money-laundering activities involving over K30 million. Zulu was on the run for a long time, but he was finally arrested at the Lusaka International Airport.
DEC explained that 34-year-old Zulu, a resident of Libala stage three, laundered the money which was sent to him by foreign tourists to help them secure hotel accommodation in Zambia. DEC explained that Zulu was found at the airport where he was trying to dupe other tourists and was detained in police custody. But nothing happened after that, and Zulu was set free. A week later, he was seen working at another tourism-related company.
Tartaglia said he has no choice but to take his case to other would-be tourists.
“Here is the opportunity I was waiting [for]. I will meet you at the BIT 2011 so I can finally explain to future visitors of Zambia [about] the inefficiency and the complicity of Zambia tourism in protecting illegal local tour operators, protecting them, and giving them space on [their] official website and allowing them to cheat their foreign clients. I also will invite the press to be more successful in this initiative,” Tartaglia told the Zambia Tourism Board.