Government says it is committed to supporting the country’s art industry as one way of promoting the tourism sector.
Minister of Information, Tourism and Culture, Kondwani Nankhumwa, made the pledge on Friday when he opened the three-day Sunbird Sand Music Festival held over the weekend at the Sunbird Livingstonia Beach in Salima.
Nankhumwa said government is aware that Malawi would benefit from promoting creative arts, which attracts artists and patrons from different walks of life.
“The festival is in tandem with one of government’s main goals which is to promote tourism for economic growth and development. By including foreign artists in this festival, the countries where these artists come from will know about our cultures and country and will, therefore, be enticed to visit Malawi.In the process they will bring the required foreign currency,” said Nankhumwa.
He added: “This will also promote Malawian artists at international level and cooperation between local and foreign artists and such efforts will always receive government’s support,”
He went on to reveal that government was working on decentralising tourism activities.The minister said each district in the country should have a tourist attraction activity, which his ministry will develop to attract more tourists in turn will maximise revenue collection.
The festival attracted artists from Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe and was one of the three festivals held in the country over the weekend. Others included the Likoma Summer Festival in Likoma and the Mwezi Wawala Arts Festival in Blantyre.
Despite taking place at different venues, this did not go well with some members of the general public, saying the events had divided audiences.
Although the turnout at the Sand Music Festival was fairly good, it was clear that, compared to previous events at Livingstonia Beach, the patronage was not the best considering that almost all the big names in the country’s music circles and other top Zambian musicians were performing.
Nankhumwa said government would intervene by bringing together arts festival organisers and helping them work on their calendars.
This was not the first time festival clashed. Lake of Stars and the Sand Music Festival clashed in 2011 and in 2013 Sand Festival and the Blantyre Arts Festival took place on the same dates. n