Minister of Tourism, Culture and Wildlife, Dr. Michael Usi on says time has come that Malawians should start considering tourism as business if the sector is to make meaningful contribution to the development of the country.
Usi made the remarks when he engaged officials from Lengwe National Park, Chikwawa District Council, selected chiefs and officers from Chikwawa Police Station to a discussion following incidents of crocodile attacks in the district on Friday .
He said there is need for people to seriously balance their culture that would in turn positively impact on the tourism sector.
“Tourism is not a foreign phenomenon. It is business and when you transact in anything surrounding tourism, you should know it’s business. The major problem we have is that we are copying foreign culture which is also affecting us,” he said.
Usi urged officials in the wildlife sector and Lengwe, in particular to patrol their designated areas so that there is no animal/human conflict.
“Always ensure that there isn’t human-animal conflict; let’s do things differently if we are to develop,” he said, adding that people living around national parks and reserves should be regarded as key stakeholders in preserving or conserving wildlife.
Usi, therefore, said following Covid-19 pandemic, the focus is now on domestic tourism, saying the available resources need to be harnessed, value added and improve their standards.
“We also need to do better in terms of our market strategy. Most of us have not been good at telling our story. We need to put our act together so that we can have maximum returns,” said Usi.
Paramount Chief Lundu said the tourism sector is important to the country’s development was because it contributes to the revenue base.
Lundu, however, expressed concern following some difficult situations the country is passing through mainly because of the Coronavirus pandemic that has also hit hard the tourism sector.
Chikwawa District Council Chairperson, Gerald Bede hailed the support both Lengwe National Park and Majete Game Reserve provide to the surrounding communities.
Bede cited provision of school fees to the underprivileged, support to the elderly and orphans that the two facilities provide.