Vice-President Saulos Chilima has pledged K2.5 million towards a fundraiser aimed at training 100 tour guides to boost the country’s tourism.
A 10-member team undertook a 10-day walk from Blantyre to Lilongwe to raise K7 million towards the training of the tour guides, but upon reaching Lilongwe yesterday, they had raised K7.5 million.
The Vice-President, who alongside Minister of Tourism, Wildlife and Culture Michael Usi joined the walkers at Bunda Turn-Off for the last 13.4 kilometre (km) stretch to Gateway Mall through the Bypass Road, pledged his contribution to the cause.
Said Chilima: “I will contribute K2.5 million by this Friday so that we reach K10 million. This is a cause that deserves our support.”
He dismissed those addressing him as guest of honour for the event, saying the walkers were more deserving of that honour.
“The guests of honour are the people that walked from Blantyre to Lilongwe. They have proved that we can all do something to contribute to the development of the country,” he said.
The Vice-President said tourism is a sector that can contribute to the growth of the country’s economy.
“This is why we need well-trained tour guides to tell Malawi’s good stories to tourists,” he said.
On his part, the fundraisers leader Yangairo Yangairo said they were impressed with the support they have received.
“It was not an easy thing but we just had to do it. People from all walks of life rallied behind us,” he said.
Yangairo said they will ensure that the funds fulfil the objective of boosting tourism through nurturing skilled tour guides.
TNM plc was the official sponsors of the big walk having donated K2 million and T-shirts. The company’s chief channels officer Phyllis Manguluti said they were impressed with the team’s commitment to finish the mission.
Besides Yangairo, other walkers were Thandiwe Likhao, Thoko Liwimbi and Kay Da Silva (female) as well as Chipi Gombwa, Charles Chokani, Madassir Anjum, Ipyana Mkangama and Innocent Kaliati.
They started the 314-km journey on November 21 and were averaging 34 kilometres a day.