State President, His Excellency Dr. Lazarus Chakwera, on Monday launched a National Tourism Investment Masterplan that seeks to implement 10 priority projects in the sector across the country in the next twenty years.
The theme of the launch was “Unlocking Tourism Potential for the Domestic and Global Market”
The masterplan, valued at around US$660 million, has deliberately been aligned to the country’s long-term vision, Malawi2063, under the Urbanization pillar which places tourism as a catalyst for tourism development. The implementation of the Masterplan is aligned to the Malawi Implementation Plan (MIP 1) in the first decade and the succeeding implementation plan later on to ensure availability of resources in the annual national budgets.
Half of the US$ 660 million will go into developing infrastructure facilities such as roads, airports, inland waterways, ports and Information and Communications Technology (ICT) structures. The other money will go into tourism infrastructure.
The plan also incorporates the role of private sector stakeholders who have been given an opportunity to co-invest with various government entities under the Public Private Partnership (PPP).
In his address, President Chakwera touted the plan as a timely guide that will align with other developmental blueprints.
“It is a good thing that Malawi 2063 prioritizes the development of tourism as a catalyst for realizing the country’s economic development agenda. But a compelling vision without a plan is nothing more than a pipe dream, and this is why the completion of this Tourism Masterplan is a major milestone for our country,” he said.
The Malawi leader took the event as an opportunity to sell Malawi to the global audience as a tourist and investment destination, pointing out political instability and low crime rate as among attributes to support this notion.
President Chakwera made specific commitments to ensure that foreign direct investment is promoted in the country.
“My country allows for 100 percent foreign ownership of companies. Foreign investors can invest in any sector of the economy and can wholly remit their profits, dividends, and capital. Thus foreign investors can disinvest 100 percent from Malawi whenever they desire to. Foreign creditors have the same rights as domestic creditors.”
He also pointed out free import duty, free import excise, VAT-free importation on selected goods such as furniture and furnishings, catering equipment, and off-road game vehicles as some deliberate fiscal incentives put in place to promote investments in the tourism sector.
Speaking earlier Minister of Tourism, Culture and Wildlife, Michael Usi, promised the President that his ministry will make sure that implementation of the masterplan is carried out effectively and to desired outcomes.
Some notable projects in the masterplan include a cable transportation system on Mulanje Mountain; hotel, casinos and sporting facilities in Salima; Tourism resort and houseboat harbor in Nkhotakota; Aquarium, hotel and food store outlet in Likoma Island and an integrated resort in Mangochi.
Some of the key stakeholders to be involved in the implementation include Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development; local Councils; Ministry of Lands; Malawi Investment and Trade Centre; Ministry of Forestry and Natural Resources; Public and Private Partnership Commission and financial institutions.