Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture Francis Phiso says there is potential for cultural heritage to contribute tremendously to the development of the country through tourism.
The minister said this on Wednesday when he visited Chentchelere and Mphunzi rock art at Chongoni world heritage sites in Dedza.
He emphasised the need for the country to enhance and protect cultural heritage sites as one way of attracting tourists.
“This can happen if adequate funding is set aside to develop, manage and market the cultural industry,” Phiso said.
He said inadequate funding for conservation and development of the cultural industry, poor site presentation and interpretation are some of challenges affecting the development of the country.
Egyptian Ambassador Hassan Phawky said cultural heritage sites are protected areas which should be treasured if the country is to advance in the promotion of tourism.
“We should preserve the paintings for future generations to see. These are treasures to the country and we will do everything to make sure that we do not lose the paintings,” said the ambassador.
Director of Museums and Monuments, Elizabeth Gomani, said Chongoni Rock Art was declared a world heritage site in 2006 due to its unique red rock paintings.
“The heritage site which has 127 protected recorded sites within its core and buffer zone is protected under the Geneva Convention. In some instances, the community members are not willing to develop their sites for tourism purposes for fear of losing the integrity and authenticity of the site,” she said.
Gomani pointed out that most sites lack visitor information centres, visitor facilities like toilets, and signage including poor visitor management.
She said a number of people allowed to tour a site at a given time should match with the carrying capacity of the site otherwise the site will be affected negatively. “The tour guides have to ensure that they provide the accurate guidelines and information to the tourists before the tour starts. This is mostly compromised because most of the tour guides have not been trained,” said G