Visa removal critical to tourism, forex –experts – Capital Radio Malawi
22 July, 2024

Visa removal critical to tourism, forex –experts

Kamtukule: It is about unleashing the untapped potential

Industry players are expressing excitement with the gazetting of Immigration Amendment Regulation, which waives visas for citizens of 48 countries on tourism grounds.

After the announcement Wednesday evening, Tourism Minister Vera Kamtukule said this will boost tourism because most visitors originate from countries like Germany, USA, UK, Russia, Maldives, and France.

According to her, each visa waiver, paves the way for new connections, cultural exchanges, and economic opportunities that will enrich and empower local communities.

“This monumental decision isn’t just about visas; it’s about unleashing the untapped potential of our beloved Malawi and inviting the world to experience its wonders firsthand.

“From the majesty of our landscapes to the warmth of our hospitality, every moment spent in our embrace promises to be an unforgettable adventure.

“As we chart our course towards Malawi 2063, envision a future where our nation stands as a beacon of hope and inspiration,” Kamtukule said.

Meanwhile, industry players anticipate improved traffic of tourists as most travellers were opting for Zambia which had already implemented these changes by then.

Cross border travel itinerary firm –Orbis DMD Limited managing director Innocent Kaliati said this will open up Malawi as a tourism destination.

“This is what we have been waiting for so long because we were losing out on visitors to our neighbouring countries like Zambia who are in some cases our competitors,” Kaliati said.

When presenting his midyear budget statement, Finance Minister Simplex Chithyola Banda highlighted plans to make the tourism sector one of the strategic foreign exchange suppliers.

Meanwhile, Standard Bank Plc Chief Executive Officer Phillip Madinga said government’s decision to heed calls for removal of Visa restrictions into Malawi will help increase inflow of foreign currency.

Madinga, whose bank has been advocating for the relaxation of the Visa requirement described the decision as timely as the country continues to battle foreign currency shortage.

“The development will help make Malawi an attractive tourism destination and boost foreign currency flows in the long-term,” he said.

Removal of Visa restrictions is one of bottlenecks identified during the bank’s-led Business Leadership Round-Table on December 12.

Home Affairs Minister Ken Zikhale N’goma announced the removal of the entry restrictions in a Gazette published on Wednesday.

Key source markets for international tourism and business arrivals into Malaw include USA, United Kingdom, Germany, France, Australia, China and Russia.

Visa exemptions also apply to all SADC and Comesa member states, including some multilateral institutions that do business with the Malawi government.

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