Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Wildlife says it hopes to see increased and expanded operations in the tourism sector following the award of matching grants to selected players.
In a written response on Sunday, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Wildlife Micheal Usi said the African Development Bank (AfDB) matching grant will help to address some of the challenges faced by micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in the tourism sector in accessing capital.
“The impact of the grants include increased employment in the tourism sector, improved competitiveness of tourism business and increased revenue from expanded operations,” he said.
Usi said the remaining funds from the grant will support successful applications from tourism MSMEs that will go through an incubation process established at Mzuzu University Faculty of Tourism, Hospitality and Management.
In October last year, Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Wildlife announced that it will be disbursing $800 000 (about K880 million) to tourism MSMEs courtesy of the AfDB matching grant scheme.
The scheme, which is targeting women and youths in addressing capital access challenges, has since disbursed K462 million to 18 firms in accommodation, car hire, restaurant and tour operations.
This is despite 184 applicants expressing interest but failed due to the grant condition.
To access the matching grant, firms needed to present a duly completed application form, business plan, valid tourism and hotels board licence and business registration by October 31 2021.
Kasungu Inn managing director Edmore Munthali, whose business has received a K22.4 million matching grant, said they will use the money to uplift the facilities.
“This grant will help us improve our facilities as we have been having challenges accessing funds due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic in the past three years,” he said.
Malawi Tourism Council board chairperson Jones Malili said the grant will help revive the operations of most operators that slowed down due to Covid-19 and others who shut down to enable them to re-open.
The tourism industry was one of the hardest hit sectors by the Covid-19 pandemic, with travel and tourism contribution to the gross domestic product in 2020 falling by 50.2 percent to 3.3 percent or about K210 billion.