Minister of Industry, Trade and Tourism Joseph Mwanamvekha has said the skills gap in the tourism sector is affecting delivery of service and competitiveness in the sector.
“Government continues to invest in the sector as one way of growing the sector. However, the huge skills gap existing in the sector continues to shadow government’s efforts in this regard.
“This is also affecting the grading system of the country’s hotels and lodges as the system largely depends on the service delivery,” he said on Friday in Blantyre during the graduation 400 students at Malawi Institute of Tourism (MIT).
Mwanamvekha said despite government’s continued heavy investments in the sector, lack of skills continue to hinder growth of the tourism sector.
He said government will continue to investin the sector to increase the number of tourists’ facilities as well as trained personnel.
For instance, Mwanamvekha said travel and tourism sector created about 400 jobs in 2015, representing 6.2 percent of the country’s total employment while government expects to see about 634 000 jobs created this year.
The minister challenged players in the industry to improve the working conditions of its workforce to attain quality service delivery.
MIT executive director Isabel Chakhumbira said currently, there is high demand for enrolment at the institution, but due to lack of space, they failing to accommodate all the applicants; hence, affecting skills gap.
“We are currently enrolling about 700 students and our training institute at Lingadzi in Lilongwe is failing to take off due to lack of funds,” she said.
Experts say tourism is one of the sectors that can prop up the economy if it is fully supported.