Lack of proper infrastructure in the air transport sector continues to haunt the tourism sector putting Malawi at the bottom of 136 economies in the world.
According to the recently released World Economic Forum (WEF) 2017 Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index, Malawi is ranked 135 while Lesotho sits at the bottom at 136.
The country also ranks poorly on ground and port infrastructure and tourist service infrastructure at 127 and 126 respectively.
On the other hand, Malawi’s neighbouring countries such as South Africa ranks 46, Zambia is at 117 while Mozambique is ranked 122.
Being landlocked, the country’s transport infrastructure and services are recognised as key drivers of economic growth and poverty reduction.
In an earlier interview, aviation sector expert Tony Chimpukuso said there is need for policy reforms if the sector is to grow.
“Our condition in the sector scares investors away. Our operating environment is not good for new entrants unless if it is a partnership. Our longest flight from Malawi is currently two hours, and taking into consideration the fact that Malawi is a consuming country, it means the cargo service does not perform well either. In the end, it will only be leisure travel that can survive the market,” he said.
According to the Malawi Growth and Development Strategy (MGDS) II review report, Malawi’s civil aviation sector has experienced virtually no growth since 1990 with a declining trend for passenger traffic observed over the years which is anticipated to continue for some time in the future.n