Minister of Industry, Trade and Tourism, Salim Bagus says the number of tourists into the country has reduced drastically this year due to the anti-Jane Ansah protests.
Speaking during the official opening of the entertainment festival, Lake of Stars on Sunday at Kachere Kastle in Nkhata Bay, Bagus said this has potential to bring down the economy.
“Tourists have been cancelling their bookings in fear of the protests. The organisers of the protests should be patriotic and stop the demos because they are hurting our economy, our country,” said Bagus.
He said the threat to close down airports and borders was more severe, saying this made more tourists suspend their holidays in the country.
Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) has been organizing the protests to force Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) chairperson Jane Ansah to step down following the highly disputed May 21 elections.
Ansah is today meeting quasi-religious body, the Public Affairs Committee which is trying to broker peace as the HRDC has called for a new wave of protests on Tuesday.
Minister Bagus said Lake of Stars will boost Malawi tourism industry as many people at the festival came from outside the country.
“At least 65 percent of people who have come here are foreigners who will carry the good message about Malawi tourism to their countries,” he said.
Lake of Stars is a three-day international festival held on the shores of Lake Malawi, the third largest fresh-water lake in Africa.
This year’s festival attracted both legendary and upcoming artists from Malawi and Zambia, Zimbabwe and South Africa.