To begin with we have to put our house in order and invest heavily if we are to realise tangible economic dividend from this sector. We must accept realise that we are competing against countries which have invested aggressively in attracting tourists.
Firstly, declare Mangochi and Salima as cities with proper planning and guided development. The chaos happening now will be very difficult to reverse and by the time we wake up our beaches will be so disorganised.
Secondly we must work on infrastructure. The roads must be properly done and any attendant infrastructure by both on the public side and private sector. The potholes are not helping at all. Let government invest in things like roads whilst private operators must run specific tourism facilities. Thirdly we must construct a functional International airport at least in Mangochi. Currently, the cost and time of accessing the lake is prohibitive therefore denying ourselves both foreign and domestic tourists.
Fourthly we must develop and implement a simple and clear tourism strategy which will see year-round utilisation of our tourism facilities. By simple I am not expecting a hundred page document, no. It must be a two pager in colour with a clear road map and max five objectives. Less is more. If you see what our colleagues are able to do with Zambezi/ Vic falls yet its only a river. We have 100 times more potential.
#Five we must aggressively market Malawi as the destination of choice. I receive a lot of guests at my workplace who only get to hear about lake Malawi whilst here. We have not done enough to tell the world about Malawi. In doing this we must realise that we are competing against the likes of Kenya, Botswana, Mauritius, Zambia, Rwanda, Zambia etc. We must have a robust disruptive strategy to switch tourists from going to those countries and convince them to come to the warm heart. Let there be political will to make this work. More elaborately, our political economy must drastically change and be developmentally oriented. Malawi you are blessed and endowed with beauty. Let this beauty translate into tangible economic dividend.
Written by Benedicto Kananza, Deputy Managing Director of Nedbank in Malawi