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Likoma evolving into tourism hub

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The government has officially handed over Likoma Island Airport to Airport Developments Limited (ADL) as part of the reforms agenda to boost service delivery in various sectors.

Government is planning to turn the island into a tourism hub for the country as it seeks alternative revenue sources away from tobacco.

Speaking when he presided over the handover ceremony, Transport and Public Works Minister, Jappie Mhango, said government is eyeing the tourism sector to boost revenue generation.

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“From now onwards, airlines will have direct access to the airport and we hope to see more tourists coming into the country. The more tourists come in, the more government and the private sector will generate revenue,” Mhango said.

Among others, Likoma Island has potential to become a tourism hub because of historic sites such as hosting the first large Anglican Church in Africa), fresh water fish, unique bird species and some cultural dances.

The minister further stated that government has so far started to receive overwhelming inquiries from investors interested in initiating projects on the Island.

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“There are already investors who are willing to invest in a hotel and a casino on the Island. We believe more will come and this will increase the revenue base for both citizens and government,” he added.

ADL Chief Executive Officer, Rodrick Chattaika said airports can be a catalyst for economic development.

“Any economy cannot thrive without a vibrant transport sector. The air transport sector is one of the pillars for accelerated growth. We are honoured to be tasked with the noble responsibility of revitalising the country’s economy by making Likoma an international tourism hub,” Chattaika said.

However, Member of Parliament for Likoma, George Makwinja, appealed to government to consider constructing a jetty to ease water transport challenges on the Island.

“People are suffering here. In other places, government has invested in state-of-the-art bus terminals. We depend on water transport and we would be grateful if government considered our plea,” Makwinja said.

Currently, government is yet to establish the Civil Aviation Authority a move that will see the formation of new Airport Company, tasked with owning, managing and operating all airports in the country.

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