Domestic tourism revenue jumps 18%

Domestic tourism revenue jumps 18%

Malawi has moved away from reliance on international visitors for the tourism sector as domestic tourism generated K632 billion last year, data from World Travel and Tourism Council shows.

The revenue from the domestic tourism has increased by 18 percent from the previous year, but is a three percent drop from K651 billion generated in 2019 before the Covid-19 pandemic affected the tourism sector.

The sector’s contribution to jobs increased by 6.8 percent to about 600 000 during the year under review, surpassing the 590 000 jobs that were sustained by the sector in 2019, before Covid-19 swept away about 300 000 jobs in the subsequent year.

However, international visitor spending grew by 19.7 percent to K40.8 billion during the year under review, but was still below the K45.3 billion generated before Covid-19 in 2019, according to the report.

The tourism sector’s contribution to gross domestic product (GDP) at 4.8 percent is below the 5.4 percent pre-pandemic levels and the government’s aspiration of increasing the sector’s contribution to the economy by 12 percent.

Malawi Tourism Council chairperson Justin Dzinkambani in an interview on Friday acknowledged that domestic tourism has grown largely due to many initiatives the sector has embarked on.

He said: “The marketing strategy by the tourism sector that has created the Buy Malawi Campaign has also created business that has induced Malawians to start appreciating our own products and facilities, holding meetings, conferences and entertainments within our country to flourish.”

Dzinkambani said government initiatives to reduce international travel due to foreign exchange shortages created an advantage for meetings, conferences and exhibitions to be happening within Malawi.

Through the Domestic Tourism Marketing Strategy that run from 2028 up to last year, Malawi aspired to boost the overall contribution of tourism to GDP by four percent in 2018 to 12 percent by 2022.

This was expected to be attained by promoting domestic tourism, which meets the needs of all existing and potential travellers for sustainable business operations through enhanced culture of tourism and travel among Malawians, improved geographical spread of tourism benefits and increased utilisation of tourist facilities and attractions.

In a written response on Thursday, Minister of Tourism Vera Kamtukule said the growth registered in domestic travel shows that the sector has potential.

She said: “As a ministry, we are transitioning from reliance on international visitors to embracing a thriving domestic tourism market.

“This increased domestic tourism is driving the creation of new jobs within the industry, thereby providing Malawians with more opportunities to earn a living and improve their overall well-being.”

Agriculture, tourism and mining form the ATM strategy which the Malawi Government has identified as priority sectors critical to transform the country’s economic success as they provide huge potential for industrialisation.

The Malawi Government Annual Economic Report 2024 indicates that the tourism sector was expected to have contributed 9.2 percent to global GDP and 9.6 percent to global jobs.

The total contribution of tourism to GDP was was projected at K467.5 billion in 2023, according to the report.

This represents five percent and 5.5 percent of GDP in 2022 and 2023, respectively, the report shows.

In 2024, Treasury projects the sector’s direct contribution to GDP at 5.6 percent on account of increased tourist spending, with domestic visitor spending projected to grow by 34.8.

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