Lilongwe, Mana: Government has reiterated the importance of recognizing the role the tourism sector is playing to the social and economic development of the country.
The Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism, Hon. Joseph Mwanamveka made the remarks Thursday when he officially opened the first National Tourism Conference at sun bird capital in Lilongwe.
He said the sector has a potential to significantly contribute positively to the economic growth of the country.
The Minister said tourism potential has been highlighted as one of the strategic sectors in the Malawi Growth Development Strategy (MGDS) and National Export Strategy (NES).
Mwanamveka explained that over the years the sector has been steadily growing in terms of its contribution to Growth Domestic Product (GDP), employment and general social and economic development.
“The 2015 tourism statistic report from National Statistics Office indicated that the sector’s aggregate contribute to GDP was K 221 billion, representing 7.2 per cent of GDP.” The Minister pointed out.
He said the sector has supported about 446,000 jobs representing 6.2 of employment in the country.
Mwanamveka said the country received about 804, 000 visitors and generated K 17 billion through visitor exports.
He viewed that despite economic challenges being faced in the country, investment in the sector in form of new hotels and other hospitality units continues to grow with contribution of about K15.9 million in 2015.
“The 2016- 2021 Tourism Development Strategic Plan has targeted to tourism from 804,000 visitors in 2014 to 1.2 billion in 2021, and contribute 10 to 15 per cent of the GDP,” Mwanamveka added.
He said United Nations in its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGS) recognizes Tourism as a viable means to promote a sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all.
The Minister said the sector outpaced other major sectors such as manufacturing and retail and continues to be recognized as a key catalyst for global transformation.
The Secretary for Industry, Trade and Tourism, Cliff Chiunda said meeting will provide a platform to enhance collaboration among various stakeholders.
He said delegates need to share and promote best practices that the sector to embrace in order to forge a head.
The National conference organized through the Ministry and Malawi Tourism Council, Sunbird Tourism and Germany government through the GIZ/MIERA Project.
The conference attracted various stakeholders in the industry, government officials and the media.
Source: Malawi News Agency – MANA