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E-visa delays cost local tourism sector

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By Patience Lunda

The Malawi Tourism Council (MTC) has said it has received concerns from international tourists on delays of issuance of electronic-visa, a situation affecting the local tourism industry.

The council reports that several potential tourists have ended up cancelling their flights into the country.

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The development comes at a time the country has been taken off the United Kingdom’s Covid red list, which could propel inflow of tourists into the country.

It is also coming at a time the country is still recovering from effects of Covid pandemic, which has cost the tourism industry about 40,000 jobs.

In an interview, MTC Executive Director Innocent Kaliati said the council has since written the Department of Immigration and Citizenship Services to quickly come in and address the concerns.

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“We hope this is something the Immigration Department can quickly fix and we hope they will grant us an audience to discuss further. At the very least, we hope they can allow tourists to obtain visas at ports of entry while the problem of current delays is being handled,” he said.

Reacting to the development, Immigration spokesperson Wellington Chiponde said the e-visa platform is a new system yet to be fully embraced by applicants.

Chiponde added that the matter had a national security bearings where, before vises are issued, applicants have to undergo a screening process.

“The Malawi Visa Issuance system was predominantly manual but, this time around, we are using the online platform and those that have transacted with us applaud the direction we have taken and improvements we have made so far,” he said.

Malawi commemorated Tourism Month in September.

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