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Tourism board to close 500 firms

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The Malawi Tourism Board says it will close and fine over 500 tourism enterprises across the country over non-renewal of licences.

The board, under the Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife and Culture, said this in Blantyre yesterday when it closed Sogecoa Golden Peacock Hotel and Gerato Carnival.

According to Chief Tourism Officer responsible for Standards and Safety Charles Kachilenga, there are over 8, 000 tourism enterprises in Malawi and 500 have not renewed their licenses and Southern Region alone has over 300 units.

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“The fees range from K8, 000 to K640,000; therefore, in total we are expected to collect over K50 million but we were not supposed to be here enforcing this. It is an expense on our part but we believe it will deter would-be defaulters,” he said.

The closed facilities are expected to pay a fine of K50, 000 each and they will be re-opened upon the renewal of a licence and payment of the fine.

Minister of Tourism, Wildlife and Culture Michael Usi accompanied the officials on the operation and he bemoaned lack of cooperation in renewing licences by tourism operators.

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“It is not about whether the penalty is big or small, it is about adhering to discipline and ethics and following the law but this is just impunity because I think it is a habit in Malawi for people to do things how they want, which we want to put to an end,” he said.

The campaign is expected to move across the country moving to the eastern region through to the Central Region finishing up North.

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