Malawi is Thursday hosting its first ever tourism conference in Lilongwe.
The Conference is being observed under the theme, Tourism, the future for a diversified economy which is in line with the government’s strategy of diversifying the economy.
Minister of Tourism Joseph Mwanamvekha said tourism stands out as a viable vehicle for diversifying the country’s economy.
He said Malawi’s economy continues to be predominantly agro-based but that the government has identified tourism as one of the catalysts that can provide revenue to complement the growing and competing demands of the economy.
“Malawi has rich natural and cultural resources that offer unique and diverse opportunities for tourism and this increases its contribution towards the economic and social development of the country. However, these natural resources have to be conserved for their sustainable use,” Mwanamvekha said.
He also said tourism products being multi-dimensional in nature, lead to changes in the economy and generating new demand for the services across sectors.
Mwanamvekha further said tourism can be rather a complex and cross-sectoral industry and therefore, it is necessary to have proper collaboration and coordination amongst stakeholders in order to make progress.
He cited issues like visa regime, infrastructural developments like roads and airports that are handled by various stakeholders within the government.
“The conference, will seek to come up with clear and acceptable areas for cooperation and collaboration among stakeholders, and gain consensus on key issues to ensure that plans and strategies are implementable and that bottlenecks are dealt with.
“Apart from that the conference will also help in raising the country’s tourism profile through awareness on the value of tourism and its importance to the socio-economic development of Malawi. In this regard, the tourism conference will seek support for the prioritisation of the sector for the diversification of the Malawi economy,” he said.
Over 200 invited guests are attending the conference and these include accommodation and hospitality unit operators, tour operators, travel agents and cooperating partners.