The Department of Tourism says about 35 000 workers in the tourism sector have been laid-off due to business slowdown and closure following the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.
The department’s director Isaac Katopola said on Thursday that the industry was arguably the hardest hit because almost all local and international bookings are cancelled.
He said: “The tourism private sector players have since engaged government for bailout packages to avoid having more facilities closed and retain some of the employees in the sector.
“On prevention of coronavirus, we have developed robust guidelines which we have circulated to the tourism and hospitality players.”
Manager of Chikale Beach in Nkhata-Bay, Josephine Imani said they have since been forced to trim the number of workers from 29 to 10.
Currently tourism contributes eight percent to the country’s growth domestic product (GDP) and efforts are underway by the government to increase its contribution to the economy