Lilongwe, September 29, Mana: Minister of Tourism, Culture and Wildlife, Dr Michael Usi has assured stakeholders in the tourism industry of government’s commitment in ensuring an enabling environment for the tourism sector to thrive.
He made the remarks on Wednesday in Lilongwe during an interface meeting with stakeholders in the tourism industry, which was aimed at providing a platform for discussions on issues affecting Malawi’s tourism industry and create a framework for moving forward.
Usi said the tourism sector is one of the pillars in the urbanization plan for Malawi, making it a crucial component in the development of the country.
“As you know government is a policy holder, our duty is to create a conducive environment where our business captains in the sector can operate in.
“As such it was important to meet because operators directly implement activities in the tourism industry. Through the interactions, we are gaining knowledge on their experiences, challenges, gains made, and look at what strategic solutions we can bring on the table,” he said.
Usi said government realizes challenges being faced in the tourism sector but urged the stakeholders to utilize available documents that explain in detail what government plans to achieve in the sector.
However, he said, some issues are bordering on legal matters, and if anything is to be done, it will require the involvement of lawmakers.
“What we want to assure our stakeholders is that government appreciates what our stakeholders are doing in the tourism industry, many of them are doing a good job and we will keep supporting them in any way possible.
“Where some operators are lagging behind, there is need and room for improvement. This is why these engagements are vital,” he said.
Usi added that government remains keen in investing heavily into domestic tourism as one way of improving the industry and also curbing the effects COVID-19 has had on the industry.
During the engagement, stakeholders mentioned lack of support, lack of implementation of planned interventions in improving the sector, lack of capacity building initiatives for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in the industry, lack of access to loan facilities as some of the challenges facing the industry.
Tourism Council of Malawi Executive Director, Richard Mdyetseni said despite the challenges, the industry does not want to play a spectator role in the Malawi 2063 agenda but rather take an active role in achieving the vision.
“This is why these engagements are very important because we discuss issues affecting us and how we want government to address those, and government also presents what they expect from us. From there we create a roadmap for the industry.
“As a priority area, we will do our best to make the industry vibrant and profitable. We would only ask government for better policies and taxes,” said Mdyetseni.