President Dr. Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera has called upon players in the tourism sector to embrace innovation, stressing that this is key for the growth of the sector.
Chakwera made the remarks on Monday when he officially launched a village-based magnificent Kalipano Hotel in Dowa.
A Malawian businessman Napoleon Dzombe is the owner of the new hotel, which is being managed by Sunbird Tourism Limited.
Chakwera said gone are the days when Malawians held the notion that a tourist is only someone from abroad.
“In your business model, pricing, and marketing, you need to show that you understand that in today’s world, the first tourist to attract to Kalipano Hotel is the Malawian in Mzuzu, Blantyre, Mwanza, Karonga, Mangochi, Thyolo, and all the other districts. It is therefore imperative that the management of this hotel turns this place into a bee-hive of activities that attract both local and international tourists alike. By giving this hotel a name in the vernacular, Mr. Dzombe is challenging us as Malawians to be the first to travel here as tourists, and this is a vision I fully support,” said the President.
Chakwera expressed delight that the Kalipano Hotel investor defied stereotypes that rural areas are not a tourist asset worth investing in, arguing that tourism is about giving visitors a new and memorable experience away from home.
“And there is no doubt that Kalipano Hotel is a new and memorable experience that will henceforth be remembered as a pioneer in investment targeting rural Malawi. This should serve as an example for all Malawians with a disposable income, many of whom have a village in a rural area they are connected to. Mr. Napoleon Dzombe is a Malawian bringing tourism development investment in his home district, and thus changing the face of Dowa as we know it. You can do the same in your home district, for it is sad that there are districts in Malawi that remain undeveloped when their sons and daughters are economically successful in our cities or abroad,” he said.
But President Chakwera expressed disappointment with the way the previous administrations treated and frustrated Dzombe when he wanted to invest in a bus terminal project in Lilongwe.
He said the frustrations and mistreatment the Dzombe faced created mistrust private sector players have towards the government.
But Chakwera assured local investors that his administration is different and is working tirelessly to create a conducive environment for the growth of the private sector.
“Today he [Dzombe] is back with new investments because he knows I was not part of those administrations and those administrations are no longer here. Not only do I have good intentions towards the private sector, but I also have a good plan. For the tourism sector, that plan is the Tourism Masterplan that I launched over a year ago, and it includes 103 tourism development projects that are ready for private sector investment. This is a new Malawi and we can only build it together by forgetting the failures of the past and forging ahead into the promise of the future,” emphasized the President.