Malawi Tourism Council (MTC), a consortium of private sector tourism operators, will this year participate in a four-year tourism development and promotion project to be coordinated by the Department of Tourism and funded by the African Development Bank (AfDB).
The project, which will run up to 2021, is aimed at benefitting tourism enterprises and local communities surrounding them across the country.
In an interview on Tuesday, MTC board chairperson Oswald Bwemba said at the end of four years, Malawi as a tourism destination, will have moved to another level as the project will boost investments in the tourism sector thereby growing the economy.
“It is encouraging that tourism has been included under cluster three of the Malawi Growth and Development Strategy [MGDS III] as a priority sector on the government’s economic development agenda for the next five years.
“As a council which has just been revived, we have put in place various strategies that will see Malawi making strides in tourism within the region and beyond. We will be working with the AfDB through the department of tourism in a project that will not only help operators, but even those surrounding tourism establishments across the country,” he said on the sidelines of a tourism stakeholder consultation meeting in Lilongwe on Tuesday.
Tourism is one of the country’s critical sectors and contributes about seven percent to the gross domestic product (GDP).
Under MGDS III, government plans to increase the sector’s contribution to GDP.
In his presentation at the meeting, lawyer Zolomphi Nkowani said tourism is the fastest growing industry which has the potential to transform any country.
“If you look at our economy, the service sector is growing at a faster rate than the production sector. What this shows is that there is huge potential in tourism.
“Just as an example, how many people worldwide have the interest to know about Malawi when Madonna visits the country? There are many and later on they learn that Malawi has beautiful sites such as Mulanje Mountain and Lake Malawi and they are forced to come,” he said.
The stakeholder meetings will take place in Lilongwe, Blantyre, Mzuzu and Mangochi funded by federal Republic of Germany through GIZ Mieira project.
In the tourism value chain, Mieira has been supporting an innovative inclusive business model assisting lodges to practise responsible tourism through business linkages with the local communities. n