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Hospitality industry upbeat on outlook

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The Malawi Tourism Council (MTC) has said business in the tourism and hospitality industry may experience gains amid the Covid pandemic, as cases have been decreasing and restrictions are being eased.

The council is optimistic that the resurgence of the tourism industry will continue, providing the country with the much needed forex.

Some players in the tourism industry experienced losses in the first half of the year, with listed companies such as Blantyre Hotels Limited plc, owner of Ryalls Hotel, posting a 69 percent drop in profit for the six months’ period ended March 31 2021.

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The pandemic devastated the performance of the sector, especially last year, with over 300,000 people losing their jobs.

Speaking in an interview, MTC Executive Director Richard Mdyetseni said the decrease in cases is a good sign for the growth of the industry, and the second half of the year looks favourable.

“Some restrictions have been lifted and we will start having external tourists coming in which is a plus as tourism is a major forex earner,” Mdyetseni said.

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He added that government could do well to introduce measures and incentives for players in the industry, in order for them to reinvest and spur business activity.

In a separate interview, Sunbird Tourism Chief Executive Officer Yusuf Olela said prospects remain better than was the case last year.

“We have seen a drop in cases including infection and the death rate. We have also seen improvement in the vaccine uptake and that has actually improved business confidence as activities have improved,” Olela said.

The World Travel and Tourism Council recently awarded Malawi a safe travel stamp in recognition of the Covid preventive measures that are being enforced in the industry.

Tourism is the county’s third foreign exchange earner after tobacco and tea.

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