By Yohane Symon:
The Ministry of Tourism and the Tourism Board have deferred licences of over 250 tourism facilities due to the units’ failure to meet minimum certification requirements.
The ministry has also recommended the closure of 16 facilities that are operating below minimum standards.
The two authorities have also approved licenses of about 1,146 tourism units across the country.
In a statement which Secretary for Tourism Isaac Katopola has signed, the Department of Tourism is urging the public to only transact with tourism operators that are approved by the Tourism and Hotels Board.
Some of the facilities that have failed to meet the grade are, however, owned by institutions that are affiliated to the government, including town and district councils.
Meanwhile, Indigenous Business Association of Malawi President, Mike Mlombwa, has expressed concern over the number of units that have not met the grade.
Mlombwa said the number of units that are not licensed shows that Malawian businesses are not supported by local systems and policies.
“It is a sad development that Malawian businesses continue to face challenges. I have booked an appointment with the Director of Tourism to see how best we can help tourism units that have been earmarked for closure,” he said.
Mlombwa said the government should empower local tourism operators as a way of promoting tourism’s contribution to Gross Domestic Product.