Africa > East Africa > Malawi > Malawi Tourism Profile 2012

Malawi: Malawi Tourism Profile 2012






Malawi Tourism Profile 2012

Analyse of the sector 29/11/2010
Malawi re-emerges as a popular tourist destination
Described by many as “the warm heart of Africa”, Malawi continues to embrace tradition and modernity in the present day. The country remains peaceful and relatively stable despite the ongoing destabilisation in Zimbabwe and the Democratic Republic of Congo. While agriculture contributes more than a third of Malawi’s gross domestic product (GDP), tourism is also slowly becoming one of the country’s integral industries. The tourism industry now has a greater impact on the economy and is creating numerous employment opportunities, as well as serving as an important source of foreign currency.
In a realisation of the country’s potential for tourism, the government has reformulated its tourism policy. It is now trying to market the country in order to attract more tourists and generate higher incomes from the previously untapped tourism market. Malawi’s feature attractions include its nine natural parks and wildlife. However, Lake Malawi remains the largest tourist attraction and occupies a huge part of the country’s geographical boundaries.
Improvement in investment climate
Malawi is considered a solid country for both domestic as well as foreign investment. Due to its potential of positive economic growth, the government has been reasonably interested in supporting and developing the tourism industry. As a result, it has placed tourism development as one of its priorities for investment in order to complement the dominant agricultural sector in the hope of enhancing the country’s tourist drawing power.
Through it tourism policy, the government has been able to create strategic measures within the Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife and Culture and has also launched marketing campaigns aimed at attracting more international tourists, especially Europeans. The tourism policy primarily serves as a guide for the development of tourist facilities such as hotels, resorts, park lodges and campsites throughout the country. With the development and attraction of local and foreign investors, Malawi will be able to compete within the international travel and tourism marketplace.
Privatisation aids development of tourist facilities
Malawi has been seeking concessions to operate and revamp its tourism industry. The government’s substantial efforts to deregulate the private sector and boost tourism in the country, were enacted via measures to encourage both domestic and foreign investors to develop the overall tourism infrastructure in the country. This has significantly improved investment and development in major tourist sites in wildlife areas such as game parks, and reserves. This enabled travel and tour operators to set up and manage tourism facilities in and around national parks while hotels around major parks and cities have also been upgraded and their accessibility considerably improved. One of the country’s main tourist attractions, Lake Malawi, received special attention towards the development of popular activities such as snorkelling, angling and water sports, aimed at enhancing the potential of and adding value to tourism in the country.
Eco-branding activities lure investors and benefit the poor
Malawi is blessed with varied topographical features. Its lakes, mountains as well as wildlife have been attracting tourists to the country over many years. The government has been looking closely at the role that ecotourism and responsible tourism can play, both in preserving the natural beauty and in spreading wealth to impoverished communities. Tourism is therefore considered key in reducing poverty, especially as country can attract high-spending tourists if marketed as an eco-destination. According to the government, 5% of the income generated by tourists yearly to national parks is redistributed to local communities for economic and social projects such as schools, clinics, agriculture and other businesses.
Wishing to reposition itself as a leading ecotourism destination in the medium term, while also endeavouring to foster economic development in the country, Malawi has embarked on developing ecotourism projects around lakes, waterfalls, and natural reserves, which will offer potential investors considerable opportunities.