Malawi Unlocked Part 1: Why Malawi Now?
As the world starts to stretch its legs again and interest in international travel rises, Malawi will be a perfect destination for post-lockdown travel and so we wanted to make sure that Malawi is part of your discussions with your clients. We are sending out a series of emailers in July/August 2020 to help tour operators and travel agents re-establish Malawi as a destination for their clients. The first, repeated here on this web-page, runs through some reasons why Malawi is a great destination to consider at this moment. The second covers the various Resources that we provide to help international tour operators and travel agents to include Malawi in the destinations offered to their clients. Click here to view that online. The third details some of the marketing support that we provide to the travel trade, to help you sell Malawi to your clients. Click here to view that online.
Why Malawi Now?
Malawi has many attributes that make it ideal for post-lockdown tourism, covering the need for distancing and providing what many travellers are now seeking:
Open spaces – Malawi is all about wildernesses, highland areas, wildlife reserves and wide beaches.
No mass tourism/Uncrowded – Malawi is still off the beaten path in tourism terms with no mass tourism to speak of. Most of Malawi’s visitors feel like they have the place to themselves! There are no more than 2 lodges in each of its Parks & Reserves (the largest of which is 1250 sq miles).
Small but spacious accommodation – Malawi’s international visitors don’t have to cram together in large, high rise hotels. The majority of Malawi’s accommodation is small, low rise and with very high space-to-guest ratios.
The Great Outdoors – apart from when asleep, there is no reason not to spend your entire time in Malawi outside in the fresh air. And there are even opportunities to sleep out under the stars!
Back to Nature – people are clamouring to re-connect with nature and Malawi’s reserves, highlands and Lake Malawi allow exactly that.
Sustainable/Responsible – Large numbers of people and whole communities depend on tourism and virtually all Malawi’s lodges and operators run projects to support their local communities and/or to conserve surrounding environments. Responsible tourism is a way of life. This is a country where visitors can spend their tourism Dollar, Pound or Euro safe in the knowledge that doing so will have a significant positive impact on the country and its people.
Value for Money – Malawi has never been a premium destination in cost, even though the experiences it provides definitely are. All markets are provided for and the fantastic breadth of attractions add to the sense of value.
Low Rates of COVID Infection – Malawi remained free of Coronavirus until April and used that time to introduce measures to minimise the impact. Cases remain relatively low on a global scale.
Safe and Peaceful – Malawi has just completed a free, fair and peaceful re-run of its 2019 Presidential election and made history as the first country in Africa to vote in the opposition after an annulment. Malawians have once again shown their amazing integrity and respect for what is right; reinforcing their status as the Warm Heart of Africa. (click here for more)
Even Easier to Access – prior to COVID, Malawi launched an e-visa system and reduced its visa fees. New terminal buildings have been completed at Lilongwe airport and developments at Blantyre airport will be completed this year (runway already finished).
Plus, of course, the core reasons for visiting Malawi remain unaffected by the pandemic. For a long time Malawi’s stunning beaches, beautiful and varied landscapes and fascinating and friendly cultural experiences have been some of the best that Africa has to offer. With the wildlife transformations (still) underway courtesy of African Parks, Malawi’s safari experiences are now matching its other attractions and it is emerging as one of the most complete destinations in Africa.
Malawi’s airports reopened on 1 September, allowing all nationalities to return to the country, though with some new COVID-related rules and restrictions. Click here to read more about that.
With no country lockdown during the pandemic, Malawi’s tourism industry has been open to the domestic market and so has been able to keep ticking over rather than become mothballed. Malawi’s properties and operators have been using this down-time productively so that they will be fully ready to welcome guests the moment the borders re-open. They have been developing new Health & Safety protocols to minimise COVID-19 risk, and have been training staff accordingly. We are gathering all their protocol documents and will make those available via our Trade Resources Website.
The Malawi government has also produced its own set of COVID Prevention and Management Guidelines for the tourism and hospitality industry to follow. These are available by clicking here.