The Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism yesterday rolled out the 2018 National Tourism Month, at a time tourism contribution to gross domestic product (GDP) is expected to rise to 7.7 percent this year.
The National Tourism Month leads to this year’s World Tourism Day, which falls on September 27 and will be commemorated under the theme Tourism and Digital Transformation.
In a statement, the ministry’s Principal Secretary Ken Ndala said the launch marks the beginning of raising awareness to the public on tourism contribution towards the socio-economic development of the country.
Reads the statement in part: “To foster awareness of the importance of innovation and the digital transformation in the tourism industry, the ministry and key stakeholders will carry out different activities during the month.”
On the theme, Ndala said it focuses on how tourism can be used as a strategic tool to nurture innovation and new technologies.
In a statement posted on its website wtd.unwto.org, the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) said digital advances are transforming how people connect and inform themselves, transforming their behaviour and encouraging innovation and sustainable, responsible growth strategies.
“We must better understand the growing economic, societal and environmental impacts of technology and innovation in tourism to sustain continuous and inclusive growth in line with the Sustainable Development Goals [SDGs] of the United Nations,” reads the UNWTO statement.
It said the day is a unique opportunity to raise awareness on the potential contribution of digital technologies to sustainable tourism development, while providing a platform for investment, partnerships and collaboration towards a more responsible and inclusive tourism sector.
In Malawi, the month will be commemorated at a time the Department of Tourism has approved 15 accommodation units to boost tourism growth.
The ministry’s director of tourism Isaac Katopola earlier said many players are venturing into the tourism sector with others expressing interest to join.
“Many investors [in the tourism sector] have also contacted Malawi Investment and Trade Centre to be given opportunities to invest in the tourism sector,” he said.
Last year, the tourism sector’s contribution to the economy was K158 billion, representing 3.5 percent of GDP, according to the 2018 Malawi Government Annual Economic Report.