Blantyre — As the anti-smoking lobby campaign continues on the global market, wildlife and tourism industry is being touted as a potential substitute for the country's green gold, tobacco, a hospitality investor has said.
Gilnconz Brown, Proprietor of Salima-based Lakeshore Resort 'Kuti' Wildlife Reserve disclosed this in an interview with Malawi News Agency (MANA) Sunday.
He said 'Kuti Wild Life reserve' harbours a variety of tamed animals such as impalas, zebras, antelopes, giraffes, wetlands besides being a home of a variety of bird species.
"We run this reserve to complement government's efforts of preserving the natural resources and boosting tourism in Malawi," said Brown adding that his resort provides tourists with both traditional and international tourism services.
He said if the private sector invests a lot in tourism industry, the country stands to earn more forex than tobacco.
Tobacco has been a major forex earner for Malawi, but of late the anti-smoking lobby campaigns has grounded it.
Brown said his area brags of savanna grasslands, beaches, hygienic swamps, dams, ponds and swimming pools facilities that are ideal for both local and international tourists.
But Brown bemoans poaching as the major challenge his resort and others currently face. "We are grappling with poaching. Professional hunters come with guns while local poachers use spears, bows and arrows to kill the game in the reserve," said Brown.
To circumvent the problem, Brown said management of the resort has engaged professional game scouts to deal with poachers and other encroachers.
He said the institution has further conducted massive sensitization campaigns within the vicinity to involve the communities to appreciate the importance of conserving natural resources for the growth of tourism in the country.
"We know that government alone cannot manage to boost tourism in the country. The growth of tourism industry requires heavy investment from the private sector. So we came in to fill the gap," said Brown.
Brown also disclosed that 30 percent of the money realized from the resort goes towards corporate social responsibility (CSR). He said the resort has so far rehabilitated school blocks, constructed a health facility and established a telecentre within the resort's vicinity.
"We hope the telecentre would help communities' access information on wild life easily," added Brown.