Mzuzu — Stakeholders in the Tourism and Hospitality Industry in Mzuzu had an interactive meeting during the weekend as one of the activities to commemorate this year's Tourism Month with a call against relaxing in observing COVID-19 prevention protocols.
Speaking during the event, Regional Tourism Officer (RTO) for the north, Japhet Kuweluza said due to economic hiccups the tourism sector is undergoing, national celebrations to mark the tourism month have been down scaled, hence the meeting.
"All activities marking the celebrations of the month have been scaled down but we thought it is necessary to organise this meeting for our stakeholders to share ideas on how to sustain the tourism and hospitality industry in the advent of COVID-19 pandemic," said Kuweluza.
He advised stakeholders, which comprise managers and proprietors of tourism and hospitality units, to ensure that they continue enforcing observation of all Coronavirus prevention measures regardless of its decline in the country.
Kuweluza said the department has included observation of COVID-19 prevention measures in the sector's inspection check list, hence the need to ensure that the prevention measures are enforced at all times.
He said besides hygiene and sanitation, observance of COVID-19 prevention measures has be added on the checklist for an investor to qualify for an operation certificate.
"The industry has already suffered a great loss but there is hope that we can re-sustain it if we do not relax in observing the prevention protocol as stipulated by the Ministry of Health and that all workers should be provided with personal protective equipment," he said.
Kuweluza also advised stakeholders to consider diversifying their tourism entrepreneurships to attract more tourists, thereby improving their economic status.
"Most of the proprietors in the tourism industry are not trained and the department intends to train about 500 proprietors in tourism entrepreneurship, strategic planning and diversification," he said.
One of the participants of Mphiri Lodges, Robert Panja commended the Regional Tourism Office for the north for organising the meeting, saying the knowledge acquired will go a long way in propelling the tourism industry in the north.
Panja said there is hope and high possibility that the tourism sector can be revamped through the observation of COVID-19 prevention measures.
The theme for this year's Tourism Month, which is celebrated in October, is 'Tourism and Rural Development