The Ministry of Tourism has emphasised the need for Malawians to embrace domestic tourism which would also help alleviate challenges the industry is facing due to the Covid pandemic.
Chief Tourism Officer Sara Njanji made the call during a familiarisation tour that the ministry organised for journalists to appreciate some of the attraction sites in the Central Region.
The journalists visited Dedza pottery in Dedza, Kuti Wildlife Reserve in Salima, Kamuzu Dam and Chingalire Rural Homestay.
Throughout the tour, it was learnt that the tourist attraction sites have been heavily affected by Covid, significantly reducing patronage to the sites.
Njanji acknowledged that some people have lost jobs and that there is another assessment being done to establish the latest impact of the pandemic on the tourism sector.
She said, while the government is working at alleviating challenges that the tourism sector is experiencing due to the pandemic, it is important encourage domestic tourism.
“While the Central Government is looking at the options that are available, what we can do as a ministry working with the media and local players so that we get prepared to showcase what we have to Malawians,” Njanji said.
Chingalire Rural Home stay director Ben Mankhamba said before Covid, the place used to accommodate many visitors, most of whom were from abroad, but he hopes Malawians can enjoy visiting the place.
“Let the people come and see the place for themselves, and appreciate the culture,” Mankhamba said. Due to travel restrictions by countries worldwide as a means of containing the spread of Covid, the tourism sector has been hit hard, causing thousands of people to lose jobs.
Mathews Kasanda is a journalist who holds a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from University of Malawi (The Polytechnic).
In 2015, Media Institute of Southern Africa awarded him the Best Print Media Education Journalist of the Year accolade.
He joined Times Group Newsroom in September 2019.