Despite the claim by the government that it has prioritised tourism as a key sector in the Economic Recovery Plan (ERP), the Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife and Culture has revealed that it has no adequate money for marketing tourism in the country.
Director of Tourism, Isaac Katopola, said in an interview in Lilongwe that his department has inadequate funding and was not in a position to implement the activities proposed in the Economic Recovery Plan (ERP).
This is contrary to what President Joyce Banda said in her state of the nation address in Parliament last week that the government is implementing a tourism promotional campaign targetting major tourists source countries like Britain, China, South Africa, Netherlands, as part of the ERP.
The campaign, claimed the president, includes promotional materials to be broadcast on BBC, CNN and National Geographic Channel.
However, Katopola said the ministry was yet to be funded for ERP activities after it did a cost analysis of the activities that have been proposed, especially on the promotion activities, and submitted a budget to the Ministry of Finance for funding.
"We have also submitted the same to the Ministry of Economic Planning and Development to [let them] know the financial requirement of the campaign," said Katopola.
He could not disclose the amount of money required for the planned campaign activities.
Katopola was, however, optimistic that under the ERP, reasonable funding would be provided to the ministry for the activities since they will be implemented as a project.
Katopola, however, refused to comment on the Umodzi Park that include President Hotel, Bingu Conference Centre and presidential villas, which President Banda said in her speech would be upgraded into a world class tourists centre.
The park, said the president, would be given to a company soon that will be required to facelift the facility with intent to improve "conference tourism" another aspect of tourism promotion campaign.