Ministry of Information, Tourism and Culture plans to engage stakeholders in the tourism sector to introduce a two-tier pricing system for local and international tourists.
Minister Kondwani Nankhumwa disclosed this in an interview in Lilongwe on Friday, saying more Malawians find it hard to visit tourist attractions because of higher charges.
Nankhumwa said, “We want to promote tourism among the locals and one way of doing this is to engage operators in the sector to come up with two prices. One price should be for locals and foreigners should be charged separately. In other countries within Sadc this has been implemented and it is bringing good results.”
He said with more locals accessing tourist attractions, it will be easy to convince them to take care of the environment and preserve game as well as vegetation.
Director of tourism Patricia Liabuba said the consultative process will start in earnest soon and all tourism stakeholders will be involved.
She said in Victoria Falls, for example, foreigners pay $20 (K9 000) as entry fees while locals are asked to part with $3 (K1 350).
“In Zambia, they use all kinds of documents, including passports, voter IDs as well as vehicle licences and we will also adopt the same here. We know most Malawians have vehicle licences, passports as well as voter IDs and that will make the identification process easy,” said Liabuba.
She admitted that charges in most tourism attractions are high which deter locals,making even those close to the establishment fail to access the facilities.
“Prices in most hotels are very high because just for a bed and breakfast one pays K40 000 and there are not many people who can pay such amounts,” she said.
Chairperson of the Tourism and Hotels Board Kwame Phiri said the two-tier pricing system was tried before, but some customers complained, especially in hotels, that it was discriminatory.
“We tried this before, but I do not know how it will be implemented this time around. Since I am hearing it from you, I need to consult with the ministry officials to see how it will be done,” said Phiri.