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‘Exorbitant’ charges stifle local tourism

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Stakeholders in the tourism and hospitality industry have lamented exorbitant prices institutions charge for services, saying they deter Malawians from travelling and appreciating attractive destinations in the country.

In an interview, senior lecturer in the Faculty of Tourism at the Mzuzu University, Zandi Kankhuni, said there was a need to set up a proper domestic tourism bedrock by making services affordable to Malawians.

“This would make the industry resilient to external shocks such as the drop we experienced during Covid and this would also provide proper linkages in the economy so that everyone benefits,” Kankhuni said.

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In a separate interview, travel enthusiast and founder of Bon Voyage Club Chimwemwe Nyirenda said most local joints do not consider Malawians when coming up with charges for their services.

“For one to spend K28,000 on a single day’s meal is not realistic looking at levels of disposable income for Malawians.

“If you want to spend some time on a beach in Durban (South Africa) it will be four times cheaper than spending some time here in Malawi; this is the reason not many people are willing to patronise destinations in Malawi,” Nyirenda said.

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He called for a stakeholders’ engagement on the quest to promote the industry.

Deputy Director of Tourism Noah Nansongole said, sometimes, industry players want to reduce the period for their return on investment which emanates from not working closely with the ministry.

“Sometimes when investors are constructing lodges or hotels they bring materials that are not necessary in order to impress, which informs their costs but, in the end, they make their charges exorbitant and the business unsustainable.

“We need to embrace the materials that we have in Malawi. Using simple structures sourced from within Malawi could help reduce costs and this could help boost the tourism sector,” Nansongole said.

Tourism is one of the sectors earmarked to help transform the economic fortunes of the country.

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