Malawi’s tourist industry has a very important role to play in the well-being and development of Malawi and its people. Tourism operations have strong links to their local communities, for whom they are often the main employer in the region. As well as the tourism being an important sector for the country’s sustainable economic development, most operators support their local communities and help preserve Malawi’s natural resources through charitable projects funded primarily by themselves and their guests. Their focus is always on providing sustainable assistance that will ultimately decrease dependancy.
Responsible Travel is an approach to tourism that maximises the benefits to local communities, minimises negative social and environmental impacts and helps local people to conserve fragile cultures and habitats. People travelling to Malawi will be greeted at lodges, driven round and guided by members of local communities who are all benefitting from the growth of tourism within the country. Accommodation owners and tour operators recognise their role in ensuring the benefits of tourism reach local communities whether it be through local employment practices, ensuring their operations run with minimum environmental impact and in some cases through the active promotion of ecotourism activities within Malawi. To ensure Malawi retains its wonderful cultures and habitats it is inherent for both visitors and those within the industry to contribute to the field of responsible travel and ensure the country benefits from tourism.
Ask most Malawi lodge owners if they have a ‘Responsible Tourism Policy’ and it’s unlikely you’ll find many such formal documents. But ask if they work closely with communities, provide good employment opportunities and actively initiate sustainable projects of conservation and development in their local area, and they will be incredulous that you even had to ask! For many, it’s the very reason they are there. Tourism does have the potential to be a significant engine of economic growth for Malawi and already the vast majority of lodges are ensuring that it has a direct, positive effect on the country and on as many Malawians as possible, as well as being sustainable for future generations. One thing you can be sure of in Malawi is that your tourism Dollar, Euro or Pound (or Kwacha!) is one that is very well spent.
Examples of schemes that members of Malawi’s tourist industry are involved with that benefit local communities and the natural environment are below, as well as those organisations that are primarily focussed on using travel & tourism as a force for good:
Specific Charities operating in Malawi, not necessarily associated with travel & tourism, are also listed on this site under Charities Operating in Malawi
Malawi is a fantastic place for volunteer opportunities for tourists wanting to give back to the community or help preserve the natural environment. Opportunities range from working with children, animals and wildlife, to conservation and community outreach projects.
The majority of opportunities come with accommodation, food and transfers included, meaning you can fully plan your trip ahead of time. Opportunities range from 1 week to 3 months!
For a full list of current opportunities please click here.
Please see below a video produced by the Response Ability Alliance on ‘Happy Women’s Day’ in Malawi.
Even if you have not yet visited Malawi, or when you return home, there are still ways to support the country and help its economic growth simply by buying Malawian products. The UK has now has a number of Malawian products available to buy and further details of those can be found on this page.