International tour operators who took part at this year’s Malawi International Tourism fare are describing the people’s friendliness as an asset that separates Malawi from the rest of the world.
Malawi hosted the Takulandirani International Tourism Expo in April this year as a way of encouraging more tourists to visit a destination ranked top three destinations to visit in 2018.
A German based tour operator Elisabeth Cholewa from Globetrotter select describes Malawi as a hidden treasure in Central Africa
“It has been a very nice experience, especially the people, I have travelled to most countries in Africa, but the people here are extremely friendly and welcoming”
Cholewa believes that Malawi has the potential to increase the number of tourists if it is able to expose its valuable tradition, friendliness and traditional dances at its disposal.
Another German based tour operator Johannes Soelder from Aqaba travel points out that the people are genuinely kind and welcoming, Soelder adds that Malawi has unique tourists’ attraction sites that are not very far from each other.
Soelder however noted that the road infrastructure in the northern region has to be worked on, which is way much behind than the central and southern parts of Malawi.
He has also advised government to aggressively sell Malawi as a tourist destination in Germany because Malawi is not popular in German, a development that may make it quite hard to sell.
According to the National Statistics Office, in 2015, the tourism industry was recorded to have created close to five hundred thousand jobs, generated over MK200 billion and attracted over 800,000 visitors.
A Karonga resident hopes to help reduce unemployment challenges in the district, following his establishment of a tourist attraction site along the shores of Lake Malawi.
According to Willy Kachaka Mwafongo, the newly established Kilombero Beach Resort will not only reduce the unemployment rate among young people in the country but also promote tourism.
He adds that, Karonga being border district deserves such facilities to attract tourists into Malawi thereby improve the economy.
“We chose to name the resort Kilombero because the well known Kilombero rice comes from here and it is one of the things that the district prides itself for.”
Mwafongo further explained that the history of Malawi reveals that Karonga is one of the first places where the African Lakes Cooperation also called Mandala missionaries (the Moi Brothers) settled and opened shop along the place for economic purposes.
“Malawi government has put tourism as one of the key priorities so we want to contribute to that, regarding the Buy-Malawi Strategy and help Malawians patronising to that.
We have already partnered with Miracle Hotel and Management Training Centre which is here in Karonga who have provided us four young trainees to share us their hotel management skills as interns,” Mwafongo explained.
In addition to that they are hoping to put together a beach soccer team to compete at national level.
South African Airways (SAA) is dumping its Malawi route in a bid to stay financially viable.
South African media quotes sources familiar with the plan that the airline will also reduce flights on its profitable Johannesburg-Cape Town route by more than a third.
Speaking to Capital FM, Director of South African Airways in Malawi James Chikaonda reveals that the local office has not been informed of the Airline’s decision to dump the Malawi route.
Representatives of the local Department of Civil Aviation have also not been consulted on the matter as
Finance Minister Goodall Gondwe described the announcement as a ‘blessing in disguise’.
According to the Minister, the move may create business opportunities for other players in the aviation industry, including Malawian airlines.
South African media reports that the airline also plans to reduce flights on its profitable Johannesburg-Cape Town route by more than a third.
It also plans to get rid of at least 10 of the more than 50 planes in its fleet.
The South African flag carrier has been struggling financially and is facing possible liquidation.
SAA currently has huge debts, amounting to over K6.7 Billion, which the SA Government has been struggling to repay.
The African destinations that will get the chop are Blantyre and Lilongwe in Malawi, Brazzaville in the Republic of the Congo, Kigali in Rwanda and Libreville in Gabon.
The development means that Malawi will now only have Kenyan and Ethiopian airways as the only International Airlines flying into the country.
SAA is the flag carrier of South Africa. Its headquarters are in Airways Park on the grounds of OR Tambo International Airport in Kempton Park, Ekurhuleni, Gauteng.
The Government is expected to spend over MK75 Million to host the first ever Tourism Expo 2017 in Lilongwe.
The Minister of Industry, Trade and Tourism, Henry Mussa disclosed this in Lilongwe during a press briefing ahead of the event set for August 30 to September 1.
Mussa reveals that the Ministry will also get support from various stakeholders in the tourism industry.
So far, the Ministry has received over MK25 million in pledges for the event which is aimed to promote domestic tourism, where Small and Medium Enterprises-SMEs will also take part.
Mussa acknowledges that SMEs make a huge contribution to the country’s economy, therefore they need to build linkages with the ICT, Banking and Transport sectors to boost tourism.
The main objective of the expo is to provide a platform for the participants to interface and experience first-hand, Malawi’s tourism products.
The participants include international and regional buyers, tourism authorities and ministries responsible for tourism, the academia and the general public.
It is also hoped that the event will help participants share best practices on how to network and package Malawi’s tourism products for increased returns.
The local tourism sector has started attracting more investors with a new Casino on the cards for Malawi.
According to the Malawi Gaming Board chief, the Palms Casino will be opening in Lilongwe, this summer.
Master Maliro disclosed that they have had good reception since they opened the Marina Casino in the capital city.
“Due to the fact that the casino is located in a hotel, we have been able to attract numerous Chinese nationals who like to gamble and these people are the majority of the customers we have at the casino,” Maliro explained.
The Marino Casino was opened in November last year at the Golden Peacock Hotel and has gaming facilities ranging from Baccarat, Blackjack, Roulette as well as Poker games and slot machines.
In the space of three years Malawi has seen at least two gaming companies opening shop in the country.
The development is attributed to efforts by the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism in selling Malawi to investors through platforms such as the Investment Forums.
The Boards’ 2016 annual report states that Malawi is expected to have a total of five licensed Casinos.
Such facilities create employment opportunities for locals as they require a big workforce.