First Lady Gertrude Mutharika has appealed to stakeholders in the tourism industry to support the Malawi Women in Tourism (Mawit) network both technically and financially to further the country’s objective of improving the tourism industry.
Mutharika made the call on Thursday at Bingu International Conference Centre (BICC) where she accepted patronage of Mawit, which was launched in 2014.
She said it is her wish to see more women graduating from small and medium scale enterprises owning internationally renowned luxury hotels and lodges, and operating major inbound businesses in the country.
“My request to the banking sector is to create products that are women friendly and can be easily accessed. It is my hope that development partners and the private sector will take an interest in this network and support women in various areas of their programmes”
“Some of these women simply need to be recognised and motivated to achieve more by giving them businesses” she said.
Mawit national coordinator Lucy Saini said it is unfortunate that women entrepreneurs in the sector are having ownership of more than 40 percent of accommodation business but find it difficult to access the same money they deposit after sales as loans to further their business.
In her remarks, chief director for tourism in the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism Elsie Tembo said the ministry recognises that women involvement in tourism activities is a step towards poverty alleviation in the rural areas and among vulnerable groups as tourism is gender friendly and has low barriers to entry.
In 2015, the sector generated about K105 billion, which is about 3.4 percent of GDP, according to the Malawi Government Annual Report 2016. n