Entrepreneurs at last weekend’s Lake of Stars (LoS) Festival in Mangochi raked in millions of kwacha, with organisers estimating Malawi to have benefitted in excess of $1.7 million.
According to the festival’s director and founder, Will Jameson, their projections for this year’s event are higher than last year’s earnings.
“We generated $1.7 million for the country’s economy last year, but over 200 internationals came to this year’s festival. We are still making evaluations but most definitely the figure should go beyond $1.7 million,” said Jameson.
Small and medium entrepreneurs interviewed randomly told Business Review that business in the district thrives during the festival.
Goodwin Mkwanda—who was running a restaurant in a makeshift market outside the festival’s premises—said prices of commodities go up during the event due to high demand and low supply of various products. He said prices of goods go up by as much as 50 percent.
He said unlike at Mangochi Boma where he plies his trade, his customer base on a daily basis at the Lake of Stars increases by up to 70 percent.
“If the event were not beneficial, we wouldn’t be coming here every year. We do it because we make huge profits.
“But we haven’t made as much money this year as in other years. My estimation is that sales will reduce by 25 percent on our expectations. It appears this year’s festival has been dry,” he said.
The makeshift market had about 60 stalls, whose owners were reportedly paying between K5 000 and K10 000 to ply their trade.
By contrasts, the inside venue had 20 businesses which were paying LoS between K100 000 and K200 000, according to Jameson.
Minister of Information, Tourism and Civic Education Jappie Mhango said government is leaning towards arts festivals as vehicles for the promotion of tourism in the country.
He said if properly supported, the creative sector could become a major source of revenue for Malawi.