By Deogratias Mmana:
The Minister of Tourism, Wildlife and Culture Michael Usi has directed his ministry to conduct an inspection of all hospitality services firms to ensure employees receive appropriate remuneration.
In a response to a questionnaire, Wednesday, Usi said the welfare of most employees in the tourism sector leaves a lot to be desired.
He said many wear old and torn-out work suits, eat poor food different from the one they prepare for tourists and get wages which are peanuts.
“The condition for many employees is so bad that some of them are reduced to beggars and that irritates tourists. Many of them wear bizarre shoes not conducive for tourism attraction. The conditions of work for most employees in this industry compromise standards.
“I have since directed officers in my ministry to inspect all hospitality facilities to check if the welfare of employees is good. I have directed them to see to it that employers do not abuse employees. Employees’ welfare and wages should be guided by government policies,” Usi said.
“My ministry should ensure that employees have good uniforms, eat the food that they prepare for tourists, their work schedule should be within labour laws. In other words, employees should not be abused,” Usi added.
Chairperson for Malawi Tourism Council Justin Dzikambani concurred with Usi that there is a need to raise tourism standards to be competitive in the region.
“When we meet, we discuss standards, compliance in the industry to see the competitive behavior of our neighbors. If our standards are low, that will bring our tourism down,” Dzikambani said.
He encouraged the ministry to conduct the inspection and reprimand those that do not comply with the standards.
Dzikambani urged the government to see to it that all players running the tourism industry are certified and are professional.
Recently, President Lazarus Chakwera told United States (US) President Joe Biden that tourism is one of the three pillars of his administration, such that it depends on the sector and others to attract investment in a bid to unlock the country’s vast potential for achieving job creation, wealth creation and food security.
During the US-Africa leaders’ session on promoting food security and food system resilience in Washington in December last year, Chakwera said to promote tourism, his administration had announced plans to waive visa requirements for tourists coming from the US and other key markets.
He also said Malawi welcomes US investments in tourism to develop airports, airlines, hotels and resorts that will make the country an excellent host for those who come to enjoy its beautiful weather, beautiful lake, beautiful culture and beautiful wildlife.