Masvingo — A Malawian tourism delegation attending the second Joint Tourism Technical Committee meeting aimed at implementing a tourism development master plan between Harare and Lilongwe has hailed Zimbabwe's tourism reforms that seek to increase the number of arrivals in the country.
The JTTC was established following a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to promote tourism investment signed by the two countries in 2015.
Speaking at the second JTTC meeting Masvingo on Tuesday, Malawi's director in the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism Mr Isaac Katopola said the implementation of the MoU would further cement bilateral relations between the two countries.
"This is the second JTTC meeting after the one we held in Lilongwe in 2017 since the signing of the tourism investment MoU between Zimbabwe and Malawi in 2015," he said.
"Malawi feels that it has so much to share with Zimbabwe, considering the various robust tourism reforms which Zimbabwe has so far championed.
"Although the two countries do not share territorial boundaries, they share boundaries in spirit.
"We have close links around issues of agriculture, mining, cultural development, tourism and hospitality, colonial history, among others.
"These issues continue to cement our bilateral relations for the common good of our own people," said Mr Katopola.
Mr Katopola, who is leading a 20-member delegation, said the Malawian Government was optimistic that the implementation of the JTTC tourism master plan would be achievable.
He said JTTC came up with a proposal for a trilateral visa which would promote the increase in tourism traffic between Zambia, Malawi and Zimbabwe.
The Malawian delegation applauded efforts by Zimbabwe to promote the ease of doing business which is being championed by President Mnangagwa through his 'Zimbabwe is Open for Business' mantra.
Speaking at the same meeting, the director in the Ministry of Environment, Tourism and Hospitality Mr Douglas Runyowa said the JTTC meeting was a milestone towards tourism development and poverty alleviation between the two countries.
"We acknowledge the delegation whose members were drawn from various sectors of the Republic Malawi who are key enablers of the tourism industry," he said.
"This gathering marks the second meeting towards the implementation of the JTTC tourism master plan.
"The deliberations here are meant to strengthen documented relations in the tourism industry between the two nations.
"To build on the vibrant and multi-faceted partnership between our two countries, it is pertinent that we leverage our common strategic interests, further enhance connectivity and economic engagement and promote people-to-people contacts," he said.
"As a nation have agreed to grow the tourism cake with the Malawian Government both regionally and internationally. The tourism dollar must not only be realised by huge international corporations, but to improve the lives of marginalised communities."