The Malawi Tourism Council has said business in the tourism and hospitality industry may continue being affected by the Covid pandemic as cases are rising.
The council fears that the surge in cases may force the government to re-impose restrictions as a step to contain coronavirus.
The hospitality and tourism industry saw some gains in the first half of 2021, with companies such as Sunbird Hotel and Resorts expecting reduced losses compared to the last half of 2020.
For instance, a trading statement for Malawi Stock Exchange (MSE) – listed hospitality unit, Sunbird, indicates that the firm anticipates making a loss for the half year ending June 30 2021 which is 65 percent lower than the previous corresponding period.
“The partial recovery is due to the easing of the impact of Covid outbreak on the hospitality industry over the last six months,” reads the statement.
Another MSE-listed hospitality firm, Blantyre Hotel Limited (BHL) plc, which owns Ryalls Hotel, announced to have posted a 69 percent drop in profit for the six months’ period ended March 31 2020.
Speaking in an interview Malawi Tourism Council Vice Board Chairperson Innocent Kaliati said despite some local firms which rely on domestic tourism and hospitality showing signs of recovery, the second half still looks gloomy.
“We have now learnt about the pandemic and we implore government to take a customised approach such as opening borders for people from green zones who have been fully vaccinated and restricting those in the red zones rather than throwing a blanket restriction,” Kaliati said.
Last year, when the pandemic’s second wave was at its peak, many businesses were affected especially in the hospitality, tourism and transportation industries.
Over 300,000 people lost their jobs due to the impact of the pandemic in the sector.
Justin Mkweu is a fast growing reporter who currently works with Times Group on the business desk.
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