Malawi President Peter Mutharika on Friday opened Grand Palace Hotel with a commitment to step up development of Mzuzu City.
During the function, Mutharika paid tribute to the brains behind the “modern hospitality facility”, saying government is committed to develop Mzuzu into a “world-class city”.
The President said the hotel will help to uplift the tourism industry, one of the strategic sectors when it comes to the economic transformation of the country.
“The hotel compliments my government’s commitment to develop Mzuzu into a world-class city. The city is not only a gateway to Nyika National Park, the lakeshore region, Likoma district and the historic Livingstonia Plateau,” said Mutharika.
Mzuzu is not only a centre of business in the North, but also an entryway to East Africa, said the hotel’s director Ariefberg Anverbeig.
“The opening of Grand Palace will not only change the face of Mzuzu, but also boost tourism and create jobs,” he said.
Construction of what he calls “a hotel of tomorrow” started in 2010 and upon completion, it is expected to have 102 rooms.
The director, who termed investing in Mzuzu a big risk, asked government to come up with friendly and competitive policies to promote tourism as well as improve the transport system to open up the North.
According to Minister of Information, Tourism and Culture Kondwani Nankhumwa, tourism contributes about six percent to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP).
However, government, in its strategic plan, envisages the sector, which is heavily endowed yet under-exploited, to start contributing at least 13 percent to GDP by 2018.
Some of the drawbacks include dwindling wildlife, environmental degradation, poor access to land for tourism facilities, bureaucratic bottlenecks when obtaining permits and poor access to finances, said Nankhumwa.
“The importance of tourism cannot be overstated. The presence of the President at the opening of the hotel shows government’s commitment to promoting tourism as a catalyst for the country’s socio-economic development,” he said.
The hotel, which is credited with having unique and attractive facilities, overlooks Mzuzu’s scenic views and landscapes.
As part of their corporate social responsibility, Grand Palace proprietors, who envision setting up a similar business in Lilongwe, pledged to install solar system at a healthcare facility of government’s choice.
They also extended a 20 percent discount to government officials.