Malawi’s Information and Tourism Minister, Ken Lipenga, says the investors can join the government’s mountain-tourism promotion initiative by participating in a government- and private-sector-run consultancy, construction and supply contracts, participating in public-private sector deals or starting new tourism ventures in the potential sites that the government is concessioning to the private sector.
“It is not the duty of the government to do business. We are just a facilitator. In these projects, which we are just starting, we are only laying the foundation for the private investors. As usual, they are free to take over from us on concessionary terms,” says Lipenga.
The project to develop and promote mountain tourism in selected parts of Malawi is the second component of Malawi’s ecotourism development project. The first, which is currently under way, involves tourism development in game reserves and national parks.
The government is now looking for a consulting firm to carry out phased prefeasibility studies on the mountain-tourism initiative.
The first phase of the studies will involve a prefeasibility study on the development and promotion of tourism facilities on Mulanje Mountain, Malawi’s highest mountain, in the country’s southern region. The other phases of the study are expected to be done on the southern Zomba Mountain, Dedza and Kirk Range, in the central region, and the northern Misuku Hills.
A statement from the Ministry of Information and Tourism says eligible firms wishing to undertake the consultancy are advised to form a team of professionals in the fields of engineering, environment, tourism, architectural design, infrastructure planning and economics.
“Those with experience in similar projects elsewhere will have an added advantage,” says the ministry.
The first objective of the assignment is to develop and improve the proposed concept description of the tourism facilities and activities on Mulanje Mountain further, while the second objective is to develop conceptual designs of the proposed tourism facilities.
The third objective is to study the sociocultural, environmental and economic effects of the proposed project and offer guidelines for development.
The fourth is to analyse and indicate the estimated demand, the operating profile, estimated construction and equipment costs and a financial plan.
The rest of the objectives include indicative economic projections on the overall viability of the project, market potential and viability, and recommendations on how the facilities should be managed and benefit the people of Malawi.
The deadline for submission of expressions of interest is May 27.
On tourism development for game reserves and national parks, Malawi has awarded tourism concessions to a number of international and local investors to develop tourism in some national parks and game reserves.
The investors include South Africa’s Africa Parks and Science Company, which is developing tourism infrastructure at Majete game reserve, in the southern Shire Valley district of Chikwawa, and a local tour operator, Tumbuka Lodge, which won a concession to develop tourism in the northern Lengwe national park.
The government is currently advertising for investors to submit expressions of interest to build a hotel of international standards and other tourism infrastructure at Cape Maclear, a leading tourist destination within the Lake Malawi national park, located in the country’s lakeshore district of Mangochi.
The closing date for tendering for the concession for Cape Maclear, one of the areas the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organisation recommended for wild-life preservation, is June 30. Malawi, whose tourism industry is largely under-exploited, is in a tourism-promotion drive aimed at diversifying from tobacco as the main source of foreign exchange, as sales of the crop on the world market are threatened by the antismoking lobby.
Tourism ranks high on the Malawian government’s list of priorities, and a number of special incentives to investors in the sector are being offered.