Government seeks to boost investments in the tourism sector through a 25-year National Tourism Investment Masterplan supported by the African Development Bank.
The master plan’s project brief which Business News has seen specifically seeks to identify national priority projects for implementation by government and the private sector and develop competitive incentive structures and framework for zoning of land for tourism projects.
Ministry of Tourism spokesperson Sara Njanji indicated on Wednesday that the ministry has since identified over 100 projects.
She said: “We have 10 zones out of which 100 plus projects were identified in consultations with districts councils and other key stakeholders. From these, 10 will be given priority for pre-feasibility but all will be open to investment by domestic and foreign investors.
“Our intention is to increase the sector’s contribution to investment, including foreign direct investments.”
Despite it being a high-growth sector with potential for job creation, lack of access to electricity and piped water pose key constraints in the sector.
Published figures from the FinMark Trust indicate that that while 82 percent of tourism businesses have access to water, only 40 percent have access to piped water and only six percent have access to electricity despite 90 percent of them being banked.
The independent non-profit organisation trust figures show that, there are approximately 4 392 tourism businesses in Malawi of which predominantly small businesses account for 86 percent.
Malawi Tourism Council board chairperson Jones Malili was yet to respond to our questionnaire.
However, in an earlier interview, he observed that although the Malawi Government has accorded tourism priority status and is among the key sectors with potential to make significant contributions to the country’s economy, there is need for more investments in the energy sector.
Currently, the tourism sector is hard-hit by the Covid-19 pandemic and its recovery, according to the ministry, is partly dependent on the SMEs performance.
Tourism contributes about seven percent to the country’s gross domestic product and accounts for six percent of the country’s total employment, according to the National Statistical Office.