The Department of Tourism says the approval of the National Tourism Policy by Cabinet is a game-changer in the development of the tourism sector.
In a written response on Friday, director of tourism Isaac Katopola said the policy presents the direction of the Government of Malawi towards transforming the tourism sector into a major source of foreign exchange, economic growth, job creation and tool for poverty reduction. He said: “In as much as there has been an increase in investment in the sector, most of it is haphazard. This is a result of lack of zoning of land in strategic sites for tourism investment, weak coordination and information flow.”
Katopola admitted that there are divisions and lack of coordination among private sector operators, which makes it difficult for the sector to advance on important issues.
Describing tourism as a multisectoral industry that requires an integrated approach, he indicated that in the absence of the policy ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) were implementing policies that were in conflict with the growth of the tourism sector.
Reacting to the policy,
Malawi Tourism Council (MTC) chairperson Tim Van Der Linden described it as timely and a positive move by government, saying most initiatives in the sector have been failing to materialise due to lack of direction. “Over the past year, we have seen the introduction of many initiatives by players from the private sector. However, due to lack of guidance and knowledge, most initiatives have not been successful,” he said. The National Tourism Policy is a five-year document