Malawi and Zambia government on Thursday sign a bilateral Memorandum of Understand (MoU) on cooperation in field of tourism at Bingu International Convention Centre (BICC) in Lilongwe.
Minister of Industry, Trade and Tourism Henry Mussa said the MoU would enhance regional integration by the way of exploring the issue of establishing a universal.
“SADC through the Regional Tourism Organisation of South Africa is implementing several initiatives to develop and promote Southern Africa as a single destination,” Mussa said.
The MoU signifies commitment of both governments towards the development of tourism between the two countries.
The government of Malawi is pleased with the partnership in as far as tourism is concerned because two countries enjoy a strong cultural, historical, political and economic relationship.
Mussa explained said member states are being encouraged to forge bilateral relations that eventually would lead towards the achievements of this vision.
He added that the MoU would go a long way to open up the regional market for intra and international tourism.
“Our countries have resources that could be jointly packed and marketed. For instance, whilst Zambia offers wildlife in abundance in the south Luwangwa National Park and Malawi offers Lake Malawi an inland sea experience which is Africa’s third largest fresh water lake,” the Minister pointed out.
Mussa said the Malawi government identified tourism as one of the growth sectors earmarked to spur economic and social development of the country.
He said currently tourism contributes about 8 per cent to Tourism Development Plan “GDP” and employs over 140, 000 people in direct employment.
From July 2015, the sector also set itself to implement the Malawi 2020 GDP which is an ambitious five year strategic plan that will contribute 15 percent GDP and creating 100, 000 jobs in Malawi.
The sector offers opportunities for new investments in tourism and hospitality enterprises to match with the projected demand.
Minister of Industry, Trade and Arts in Zambia, Charles Banda said is it important and strategic for both countries to forge planned alliances with destinations that share a common vision to capture the regional and global markets.
“We share common borders, so many attributes that we share including the rich culture biodiversity which is similar and oftentimes complimenting. It is no doubt that our strength lie in the diversity of our production portfolio and the authenticity of culture,” he said.
Banda urged tourism and industry stakeholders to take advantage and opportunities of the MoU to grow their businesses through fostering partnerships in the two destinations.
Previously, tourism stakeholders between the two countries have engaged without the existence of the MoU in tourism.
For example, Malawi has participated at the travel fair at Zambia Tourism Expo (ZATEX) from its beginning and there is more that can do together to promote tourism between them.
“We will collaborate more and intensify the established links so that our partnership will be strengthening even more to the mutual benefit and understanding of our countries,” he added.