Malawi Tourism Council (MTC) says the National Tourism Crisis Management and Strategy proposed by the Malawi Government will help the sector to recover from adverse effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The sentiments are a reaction to President Peter Mutharika’s State of the Nation Address (Sona) delivered to Parliament last Friday, which outlined how the government intends to cushion the sector from the impact of Covid-19 pandemic.
MTC board chairperson Tim Van Der Linden, in an interview on Tuesday, commended government for the recovery measures.
He called for speedy implementation of the measures, saying the industry’s performance is currently grounded.
Said Der Linden: “The suspension of tourism levy is a start in the right direction, but we consider it not as the solution to solve the financial problems within the tourism sector.
“Tourism levy is related to income, and at the moment, most operators do have zero income; hence, the benefit of not paying the levy is small.”
The measures as outlined by Mutharika include the suspension of one percent Tourism Levy on tourism goods and services consumed, general deferment of business loan repayments and encouraging voluntary pay cuts in the sector to sustain existing jobs.
The President said government is also considering establishing a bailout fund to support the tourism sector and that to build resilience in post-Covid-19 era, government is developing a National Tourism Crisis Management Strategy and Plan for effective coordination of crisis management in the sector.
He said government will soon undertake a comprehensive review of the Tourism and Hotels Act, establish a semi-autonomous Tourism Authority, develo a Tourism Master Plan and also carry out a feasibility study to develop Nankumba Peninsular as a tourism hub.
The tourism industry has been greatly affected by Covid-19 with government earlier indicating that over 35 000 jobs were already lost as of March this year.
In its latest report, the Reserve Bank of Malawi said due to the pandemic, the local tourism industry is projected to contract by 9.9 percent in 2020 from an estimated growth of 4.8 percent last year.