Malawi eyes tourism for forex – Minister

Government says tourism is Malawi’s next potential big foreign exchange earner now that tobacco may not be popular with the growing anti-smoking lobby.

Racheal Zulu – who was Minister of Tourism and Culture  before being moved to Local Government in new cabinet line-up – revealed this on Wednesday on the sidelines of the World Postal Day Commemorations in Chiradzulu, where the Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (MACRA) handed over a renovated Mtengatenga postal hut to her ministry.

Mtengatenga postal museum hut is located between Blantyre and Zomba and that is where people carrying letters and parcels from Zomba (and other districts) on one side and Blantyre (and other districts) on the other were meeting to exchange letters and parcels.

“Tourism is well nurtured and has the potential to become a multi-billion kwacha industry that can change the lives of many communities around the country,”she said.

Minister Rachel Mazombwe
Minister Rachel Mazombwe

Zulu observed that the first step in transforming the nation into a holiday destination is to preserve and treasure places of historic interest that have great potential to attract visitors.

“Mtengatenga postal hut is strategically located on a busy road to our great tourist destinations of Zomba and Mangochi. Imagine the businesses that could emerge from this community if thousands of tourists would stop over at the hut on their way to the said destinations,” she noted.

Zulu also said many businesses such as lodges, curio sellers and grocery shops that could be established at the place could change the socio-economic well-being of the surrounding communities, appealing to Malawians to develop a habit of visiting these historical places.

However, Malawi News Agency has observed that people are not into the habit of visiting the country’s tourism destination places because they are expensive.

“I wonder why these government people always talk of Malawians appreciating tourism and the like. What are they doing about making places affordable for Malawians? Why don’t they come up with subsidised programmes for organisations or religious bodies to be taking people to such places?” asked Gift, a Blantyre resident.

“It is sad to hear tales of Malawian locals who fail to explain to visitors from abroad when they are asked about tourism attraction sites found in our beautiful country….we should become tourist ambassadors and help sell our country to millions of tourists wanting to identify a destination to spend their money,” the minister said confidently.

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