Renowned Malawi business guru, Thomson Mpinganjira has proposed a complete overhaul of Kamuzu and Chileka International airports if Malawi is to boost its tourism sector.
Mpinganjira made the suggestion on Friday at Sunbird Nkopola in the lakeshore district of Mangochi during a three-day annual general meeting by the Economics Association of Malawi (Ecama) graced by Malawi President Joyce Banda.
â€œThe environment at the airports is not welcoming. We need a complete overhaul of our entry points,â€ he said.
He said it was high time Malawi accepted that Chileka International Airport terminal has become obsolete and not fit for its purpose.
Mpinganjira said rehabilitation of Chileka International Airport would be a good interim measure but noted that the real solution is a new airport terminal in place.
He observed that the present terminal at Chileka has serious limitations of space, archaic infrastructure and technology, including checking in systems and baggage handling.
â€œUntil we work on our transportation system, especially air transport, tourism in Malawi will remain mediocre,â€ he said.
He also lamented that it is almost impossible today for Malawi to market Likoma Island to international tourists due to lack of reliable and consistent access.
Mpinganjira also asked government to introduce an electronic visa (e-visa) system through which any person wishing to visit Malawi from anywhere in the world can obtain a visa by using the Immigration portal or website.
He said doing so would make Malawi accessible to tourists and potential investors as opposed to the present situation where the Malawi visa is only obtained in countries where Malawi has an embassy.
â€œTo put this in context, Malawi is only represented in only 14 countries in the world making visa application extremely difficult and costly,â€ he said.
In reaction, President Banda described Mpinganjiraâ€™s presentation as a food for thought, saying government would weigh options of considering the proposed issues.Â