Cape Town - South Africa and Malawi recently signed a tourism cooperation agreement in Lilongwe, at the Malawi International Tourism Expo 2017, to enhance mutual collaboration between the two countries in the tourism sector.
Tourism-related and visa waiver agreements – such as the recent agreement between SA and the DRC for official and diplomatic passport holders - are a step closer to achieving the much-anticipated “visa-free” Africa passport.
Such agreements also allow countries to share knowledge and expertise, and assist each other to grow within the sector.
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South Africa’s Minister of Tourism, Tokozile Xasa says she hopes that the signing of the agreement helps “grow and enhance people to people relationships”, specifically to enhance cooperation in areas around “flights, visa issues, visas and small scale business for the local people," says Xasa.
Malawi’s Minister of Trade, Industry and Tourism, Henry Mussa says that the agreement is a big leap in strengthening bilateral relations, adding that the government of Malawi “appreciates the support it gets from southern government for the tourism sector”.
According to the Official Malawi Government Online, Mussa says that “South Africa has assisted in the capacity building of grading assessors, restocking of wildlife species in protected area and training of wildlife personnel at South Africa Wildlife College”.
South Africa’s Minister of Tourism, Tokozile Xasa (left) and Malawi’s Minister of Trade, Industry and Tourism, Henry Mussa signed a tourism cooperation agreement. (Photo: Stanley Makuti)
The tourism cooperation agreement has been signed after seven years of negotiations, and Mussa believes the agreement will “cement the already existing cooperation between the two countries”.
The agreement covers marketing and promotion, investment, training, sponsorships and fellowships, exchange of information and tourists’ transfers.
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“Culturally we are one people and family; many tribes in Malawi have their origins from South Africa, the Ngoni’s are an example," says Mussa, adding that Malawi has many business investments and tourism activities to offer to SA.
Xasa says the tourism sector is “a great contributor of direct labour force” as it contributes about 9% of the country’s GDP and “offers almost 1.5 million direct employment”.
While visas are still required to travel to Malawi, the agreement proves to be a positive step towards attaining smoother travel between the countries. For now, there are still 92 destinations where South Africans can travel visa-free. Check it out here.
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