Malawi Government, says it will punish all tourism operators that are not remitting according to the law, the tourism levy aimed at marketing Malawi as a tourist destination.
Minister of Tourism and Culture Rachel Mazombwe Zulu issued the warning in the capital, Lilongwe on Friday when she addressed the 2013 tourism stakeholders meeting which took place alongside the Tourism Association of Malawi annual general meeting.
“I wish to warn that my ministry will apply the law and punish operators that continue to collect but not remit the one percent tourism levy, which is necessary for Malawi’s destination marketing activities,” Zulu said.
Malawi is marketed as a tourism destination with financial resources from government and from the one percent tourism marketing levy.
The minister, therefore, thanked tourism operators who continue to comply by remitting the levy and urged all defaulters to start remitting.
Zulu lamented that resources aimed at marketing the country have never been adequate as expected but hinted that government is currently considering ways and means of increasing the financial resources for tourism marketing purposes.
“The levy money that is collected has an important purpose, as it is used to pay for local and international marketing programmes whose end beneficiary is the industry itself. It is therefore against the law for a tourism enterprise to collect and use that levy money that customers pay for other uses,” she said.
She said her ministry is also ready to consider various proposals on the sustainable financing of tourism destination marketing and related issues.
Commenting on hotel grading, Zulu said her ministry will continue to assess and grade accommodation units in the country in order to encourage better standards and good service delivery of Malawi products.
The minister said grading assists in customer satisfaction of the country’s tourist products as tourists are informed and are able to choose the quality of accommodation they wish to use in line with the grading results.
In his presentation later, the Malawi Tourism Association boss Sam Botomani said to improve competiveness, destinations in the developing countries need to invest significantly in developing natural attractions, among others.