Minister of tourism, Culture and Wildlife Michael Usi has said government will this year start investing K8.6 billion in construction of tourism infrastructure including a 40-seat restaurant at Songwe Border in Karonga District.
The development is under the National Tourism Investment Master Plan launched by President Lazarus Chakwera on April 4, 2022 in Lilongwe to run from 2022 to 2048 with one hundred and three projects set aside for implementation.
Usi broke the news Thursday at Karonga Freedom Park amid his series of awareness meetings in districts where National Tourism Investment Master Plan projects will be located including Mulanje, Nkhotakota and Mangochi.
“The investment here in Karonga includes a Songwe Border transit facility which will consist a 40-seat restaurant with outside shaded seating, a 24 room motel, fast food outlet, ATM facilities, children’s playground and public toilets. This project is expected to cost approximately K8.6 billion,” he said.
He said tourism as one of the fastest growing industries in the world has the potential to end poverty and improve livelihood of individuals involved in the chain of distribution of the tourism products and services.
The minister said the country can benefit better if the tourism industry is well organized through infrastructure such as good roads, electricity, communication and safe drinking water.
“Karonga being a border and also a lakeshore district with a rich history and culture, has the potential to attract both local and international tourist,” he said.
Council Chairperson for Karonga District councillor Belliam Msukwa urged the minister to explore more tourism opportunities in the district.
He said Karonga has about 10 hot springs including Mkumbe and Chiwongo which are potential tourism sites citing Switzerland as an example.
He urged government to construct a hotel in the district for visitors from Tamzania, Kenya and other parts of the world to spend some time in the district when they come for different errands in the country.
Paramount chief Kyungu commended government for the plan saying Songwe Border is the face of Malawi and needs to give a good impression to visitors.
He urged government to construct District Commissioner’s offices as the previous ones were vandalised during demonstrations against the 2019 Tripartite Elections results.
National Tourism Investment Master Plan targets to spur an improvement in infrastructure such as roads and airports and all projects will be financed by the African Development Bank with about half a trillion Kwacha funding.
Government had also implemented Malawi 2002 to 2007 Strategic Tourism Development Plan in selected five sites for tourism investment namely Kande Beach in Nkhata Bay, Maleri Islands in Salima, Likubula Falls in Mulanje, Manchewe Falls and Lilongwe Nature Sanctuary.
Meanwhile 60 percent of the projects at Kande Beach (Kande Beach Lodge), Maleri island (Blue Zebra) and Lilongwe Nature Sanctuary (Sanctuary Lodge) have been developed.