Outgoing Sunbird Tourism Chairperson, Phillip Madinga, has said tourism remains Malawi’s next big thing which could effectively compete with tobacco as a major forex earner but requires to be given necessary attention and support by the government.
In an interview on Monday, Madinga who was last week replaced by George Partridge after being at the helm of Sunbird board since 2015, said Malawi is endowed with many natural resources and could be a great tourism destination.
“As a country we need to invest in various key infrastructures to unlock and exploit the tourism potential and support the growth of tourism sector.
“For example, we need to improve our airports, roads, and other infrastructure,” Madinga said.
Looking back at his time and the helm of Sunbird board, Madinga said he is happy to have left a strong legacy at the Malawi Stock Exchange listed firm.
He said among others, after taking over the chairmanship, Sunbird embarked on a five-year strategic plan which focused on diversification of the business and a refurbishment programme.
Among other achievements, Madinga sited the construction of a new 42-bedrooms hotel at Sunbird Livingstonia Beach, the construction of a 500 capacity conference hall at Sunbird Mount Soche, the diversification into management of other hospitality entities with most recent addition being Sunbird Chintheche and the refurbishment of 92 bedrooms at Sunbird Lilongwe.
“We also managed to refurbish all the old 40 bedrooms at Sunbird Livingstonia and addition of new four bedrooms in addition to refurbishing all the bedrooms at Sunbird Nkopola.
“Again we managed to achieve diversification into water and leisure activities at lake resorts in addition to constructing a heated pool at Sunbird Kuchawe,” Madinga said.
Over the past five years, Sunbird Tourism has seen its share jumping two fold on the MSE and the company has managed to register consistent profitability.
“The success achieved over the past five years has been a collective effort from everyone at Sunbird. Wish to thank the dedicated management and staff of sunbird for their continued hard work, commitment and dedication and believing in my leadership, and believing in the diversification and refurbishment program we embarked five years ago and making Sunbird what it is today.
“I would also like to take this opportunity to thank my fellow directors for their support and for the vision and intellect that they brought on the board. For the investment their time and expertise in supporting the stewardship of Sunbird, I say thank you,” Madinga said.