Tourism sector in the country is feeling the pinch of the cholera outbreak in the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) region as tourist numbers have dropped dramatically over the past two months.
Tourists, especially those who like cross-border tourism packages have been cancelling their bookings, according to director of tourism Isaac Katopola.
Most hit is a cross-border tourism package that includes Zambia, Malawi, Mozambique and Tanzania.
The four countries are struggling to contain the cholera outbreak.
Tourists prefer cross-border tourism packages where they combine their visit to several countries.
Katopola said although the scale of the attack is not widespread and is lower than that of Zambia and Tanzania, the tourism sector has been affected.
“Cholera outbreak in Tanzania and Zambia has indirectly affected Malawi as there is now general cancellation of cross border packages,” he said.
Nkhata Bay’s Kande Beach owner, Davie Burton said the outbreak has an impact on the sector mostly when international tourists get wind of the outbreak.
“Although we have not yet experienced any cancellations at the moment, we can foresee the implications, and we fear we might lose out [if the outbreak is not contained],” he said.
Malawi reported cholera outbreak in Karonga District which borders Tanzania in November last year. The outbreak later spread to other tourist destinations of Nkhata Bay and Salima.
So far, cholera has claimed four lives and 265 cases have been recorded.
Zambia reported cholera outbreak late last year and so far, 63 people have died. While Tanzania has reported 5 112 cases with 103 deaths recorded this month alone.