Mphonda was speaking in London when he hosted major tour operators, prominent Malawians and other interest group of people on the forthcoming Malawi International Tourism Expo to be held in Lilongwe from the 30th of August to the 1st of September,2017.

Mphonda said the Takulandirani Expo was one way of strengthening Malawi Tourism brand and allowing interaction between all sectors to explore means of exploring how to increase numbers of tourists into Malawi.

“The UK remains Malawi Tourism important market and it is in our interest that we work together and find means of having many people not only attend the MITE but also travel in years to come,” he said.

Acting Tourism Officer Kondwani Munthali said the MITE will offer buyers an opportunity to sample Malawian tourism products as tours can be arranged for 7 days inclusive of Expo days.

“Malawi Tourism strategy envisages increase in tourist’s numbers from 804,000 recorded in 2016 to 1.2 million in the next five years. The growth opportunity will come from all of us creating demand and packaging Malawi as a priority tourism destination,” said Munthali.

He said Tourism contribution was projected to grow from the 7.2 percent of the GDP to between 10 and 15 percent which should excite operators to be part of the country’s economic growth.

“We have recently become a Big Five destination. We have the most beautiful and rare lakes in the world, we have the friendliest people in the World. We should aggressively market Malawi across England and hopefully post MITE will see all of us working together with a comprehensive strategy to market Malawi- digitally and physically,” he said.

Among the post MITE events to market Malawi, a marathon runner Eddie Ware will race at the Great North Marathon Run on September 10, 2017, the Birmingham, Cardiff and London Marathon in Malawi branded attires which are being produced as marketing for the country.