Findings of a recent study by the National Statistical Office (NSO) show that about 87 percent of Malawians do not take part in touristic trips due to financial constraints.
The findings of the study were released in Blantyre Wednesday at an event graced by Minister of Tourism, Wildlife and Culture Michael Usi.
The study reveals that, at national level, 64.1 percent of households expressed willingness to spend on tourism activities while five percent said they were not interested.
NSO Commissioner of Statistics Mercy Kanyuka said efforts should be made to advocating domestic tourism.
“The report shows that there is more to be done. The tourism sector should make tourists attraction sites less costly and arouse willingness in those who are not interested in visiting tourism sites for other reasons,” she said.
The survey was conducted across all the districts in the country in 2019 and, among other findings, water bodies are the most desired tourist destination places while cultural heritage sites are the least.
It further discloses that Mangochi is the most desired district for local tourists, with Neno being the least desired district.
In an interview on the sidelines, Usi said strategies have been put in place to publicise tourism destinations and increase competition to make them affordable.
“We are in a liberal market; therefore, we cannot force the managers of those places to lower prices but we will engage them and we will also make sure that there are many investors, to increase competition which may lead to reduction in prices,” he said.
Malawi has many tourism sites such as water bodies, cultural heritage sites, mountains, game reserves and national parks.
For years, the tourism sector has been seen as the next big thing for Malawi, with officials touting its prospects of becoming the country’s single top foreign exchange earner with potential of contributing heavily towards national economic development.
Recently, Malawi introduced the Strategic Tourism Marketing Framework—a five-year strategy for marketing the country to the world to increase tourists’ inflow.
The blueprint redefines Malawi’s tourism product lines in the scope of Experience Lake, Experience Nature, Experience Wildlife, Experience Culture and Experience Mice.
It is earmarked to market Lake Malawi, which is the fifth largest fresh-water lake in the world by volume, the ninth largest lake in the world by area and the third largest and second deepest lake in Africa with high endemic fish bio diversity.
The strategy also sells Malawi’s cultural practices and cultural village setup to give tourists a feel of typical village life.
Justin Mkweu is a fast growing reporter who currently works with Times Group on the business desk.
He is however flexible as he also writes about current affairs and national issues.