Zambian Minister of Tourism and Arts Charles Banda yesterday challenged Malawi and Zambia not to look at each other as competitors in the tourism sector, saying the two countries have diverse natural resources despite sharing the same culture.
Banda, who once served as High Commissioner for Zambia in Malawi up to 2015, said there is need for the two countries to have a univisa—multi-country visa—and develop tourism products which could enable visitors free movement.
“Tourism can help the two countries to create a lot of wealth. When tourism thrives, other sectors such as agriculture, transport and hospitality also grow. Tourists need food, better transport and a good place to sleep, so it is important to work together,” he said during the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on cooperation during the ongoing Takulandirani Tourism Expo 2018 in Lilongwe.
Malawi Minister of Industry, Trade and Tourism Henry Mussa said it is government’s wish to ensure that tourism contributes over 15 percent to gross domestic product (GDP) from the current eight percent.
“Malawi and Zambia share a lot in common and the signed MoU will enhance regional integration. We will be seriously exploring ways to ensure that the issue of univisa is implemented as soon as possible.
“Sadc [Southern Africa Development Community] is looking at making this region have a univisa and we will also put our weight behind that process,” he said.
Sunbird Tourism plc board chairperson Phillip Madinga and Umodzi Park general manager David Church commended government for organising the tourism expo which they said show that government is keen in developing the tourism sector.
“Malawi needs to create a lot of awareness of what it offers and the signing of the MoU with Zambia is important,” said Madinga. n