New Tourism Minister on task to unveil Malawi as world’s best kept secret

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Described as the ‘Warm heart of Africa’ Malawi boasts of some of the continent’s best tourist attractions ranging from abundant wildlife, dramatic landscapes and a plethora of other exciting attractions that are sure to allure any visitor.

For the country’s newly appointed Tourism Minister, however, there is something more that distinguishes Malawi as a must-visit destination. Speaking to VoyagesAfriq in Germany at this year’s ITB Berlin Tourism Expo, Vera Kamtukule said the country’s people and their rich cultures are what define Malawi as the “Warm heart of Africa.”

“What is that that makes us stand out? It is our people, the culture, and the stories behind our people which can never be compared to anything else. I can guarantee you that if anyone from America, Germany, or any part of Europe comes to Malawi, their lives are never the same, because our resilience as a people is well documented.”

A key attraction of the Southern African country is Lake Malawi, the fifth largest fresh water lake in the world by volume, the ninth largest lake in the world by area—and the third largest and second deepest lake in Africa.

Kamtukule said that attractions like the Lake and many others remain undiscovered by Malawians and she is determined to change that to improve domestic tourism.

She posited, “We have one of the largest fresh lakes in the world with mountains and all the natural endowments, but we have a large part of the population; close to 10 million who have never seen the lake in their lives, and I consider that as obscene because the people who do not have the money are in the larger majority. So, if you can talk about the volumes, then you can boost local tourism.

Editor of VoyagesAfriq Kojo Bentum-Williams and Minister Vera Kamtukule at the Malawi Stand at ITB Berlin

“I feel it becomes a challenge for us to sell the country when we haven’t seen the country ourselves. I believe everyone is a tourism officer, from the president to the lowest person possible. For Malawians, each one of us must be a tourism officer and for me to get there, we need to expose Malawi to its own people,” she added.

The former Labour Minister also averred that it was time for Malawi to open its vast and rich tourism offerings to the rest of the world.

“Malawi is touted as the world’s best kept secret, but I feel like we cannot be secret forever, we are sitting on gold, so, let’s unveil the secret, and that’s one of my challenges as well, to say how do we unveil the world’s best kept secret to Malawians first and then to the entire world,” she maintained.

Although with a flexible visa regime, accessibility to Malawi remains a challenge as only a handful of airlines fly into the country. Tourism Minister Kamtukule disclosed that she is working closely with other ministries and stakeholders to come up with appropriate incentives to attract more airlines into Malawi.

“We have a limited number of airlines coming into our country and a limited number of direct flights and we are working towards that. So, the Ministry of Transport, Ministry of Tourism, Ministry of Communication, and the airport development company are coming together to provide an incentive structure because if we don’t sacrifice something, there is no way we can make something out of it. At the moment, what we are doing as a ministry with our counterparts is looking at a wholistic progamme as far as airline accessibility is concerned,” the Tourism Minister emphasized.

Profile
Vera Kamtukule is a Malawian author, writer, and publisher and was first appointed a minister of Labour on 26th January, 2022.

Hon. Vera Kamtukule is a life and leadership coach; a writer and a keynote and motivational speaker who has dedicated her life to the development of people especially women and girls of all ages across the world. She achieves this by employing unequivocally non-conventional methods which inspire people to draw motivation from deep within themselves in their quest to achieve both large and small goals they never imagined were possible.
Vera is a former Chief Executive Officer for Malawi Scotland Partnership (MaSP) Even though she is not a Member of Parliament yet, Vera was appointed as a Minister of Labour in 2022 after President Dr Lazarus Chakwera dissolved his cabinet. She had served as a Deputy Minister in the same Ministry since 8th July 2020; she is the youngest female member of the cabinet.

Listen to the Minister’s Interview on the VA Tourism Podcast

This Article was published in the 023 Issue of the VoyagesAfriq Travel Magazine

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