Happy World Tourism Day! Malawi celebrates the day during some pretty unprecedented times as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. The theme for 2020 is Tourism and Rural Development, an important one given the times.
Ever since international travel came to a halt, local communities that live around tourist attractions or are employed in protected areas, have been hit hard as a result of the loss of revenue and jobs. The vast majority of these communities are rural-based and usually have no alternative source of income to tun to.
Never waste a good crisis
As discussed recently on how we can rethink domestic tourism, this pandemic has provided us with an opportunity to truly incentivise Malawians to travel more locally. Other than game drives, mountain hikes and lakeside activities, Malawi has a rich cultural heritage. Can the government work with custodians of culture to provide the infrastructure to drive more tourism around cultural heritage? Can players in the tourism sector create interesting packages that attract the locals to more than the usual? Will we, the locals who complain about the lack of incentives, take up the offers and help keep local money local?
Never waste a good crisis!