LILONGWE-(MaraviPost)-Malawi has earned itself a spot among 15 holiday destinations for 2018 by travel experts of a United Kingdom-based international magazine, Cosmopolitan.

The magazine’s travel advisory released in the just ended year, 2016 in December, describes Malawi as an untapped safari destination that prides itself on the incredible conservation efforts of 500 elephants campaign and the return of The Lake of Stars Music Festival.

Tourists are said to be enjoying the clear blue waters of Lake Malawi as among reasons the nation got the nod of holiday destination.

“A landlocked country, Malawi may not strike you as the perfect safari and beach combination, but that is the beauty of it.

“We recommend a stay at the divine Kaya Mawa, a perfect hideaway with 12 gorgeous villas that each have panoramic lake views, mahogany beds and private terraces,” reads the advisory.

For the two years, CNN has featured Malawi as a must-see country describing it as a place of peace and quiet.

Reads one of the CNN travel reviews; “The country is largely rural; only 15.7 percent of the population lives in urban areas. Clear skies and bright stars make it thrilling for star gazers”.

Malawi Tourism Council chairperson Oswald Bwemba said it is exciting that Malawi is being recognized globally.

However, Bwemba said the issue of visa which has discouraged a lot of would-be-travelers from visiting Malawi needs to be reviewed.

“Malawi as a tourist destination is in great need of positive publicity. As a country we need to embrace this opportunity by getting rid of issues that impede inbound tourism,” he said.

“The short-term gain from the visa fees is a serious barrier to tourist travel to our country which has numerous other challenges affecting tourism growth,” he said.

The World Travel and Tourism Council ( WTTC) report shows that the sector’s direct contribution locally currently stands at K138 billion, representing 3.4 percent of total gross domestic product (GDP) and it is anticipated to rise by 4.9 percent per year in a few years to come.

Tourism is Malawi’s third foreign exchange earner after tobacco and tea.

About 500 000 to 1 million foreign tourists visit Malawi every year and there are about 500 tour operators in Europe and US, who are marketing Malawi as tourism destination.

The Department of Tourism expects increased prospects with the opening of new facilities such as the Presidential Hotel and full operation of the Umodzi Park in Lilongwe.

In this year’s Annual Economic Report, government said it would continue to improve the standards and quality of services in the tourism industry and continued with the implementation of the star grading system with the aim to improve service delivery of the hospitality industry.

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