By Mc Donald Chapalapata, a Contributor
Premier mobile phone provider, TNM plc has been named the headline sponsor for the Blantyre-Lilongwe tourism walk which is meant to raise funds for training and certification of tour guides in the country.
TNM plc Acting Chief Executive Officer Arnold Mbwana said in an interview yesterday that, TNM, being a Malawian company is proud to be associated with the promotion of tourism in the country hence the sponsorship.
“TNM plc is a truly Malawian company and we thought the training and certification of tour guides is one of the best ways of promoting tourism in the country and that is why we came in with our K2 million sponsorship,” said Mbwana.
The walk will start on Saturday 21st November 2020 with 10 people who will walk all the way to Lilongwe and are expected to cover the 314 kilometre distance in 10 days.
Mbwana said they will dress the 10 Walkers in TNM colours both on the first day and the arrival day in Lilongwe.
“We will also have our TNM staff and other joining the 10 walkers at Bunda Turn off in Lilongwe on Day 10 which is Monday 30th November 2020 up to Lilongwe Gateway Mall where our heroes will receive a thunderous welcome by different dignitaries,” said Mbwana.
One of the organizers of the walk Innocent Kaliati from The Eagle’s Eye Malawi, hailed TNM plc for the platinum sponsorship and called on other individuals and companies to support the event.
“We are looking at raising K7 million to train about 100 Tour Guides but if we can raise more, it means we will train and certify more Tour Guides. Each of the people who will walk from Blantyre to Lilongwe are expected to contribute K150,000 towards the event, so companies or individuals can choose to sponsor one or two walkers,” said Kaliati.
He explained that economic benefits of tourism such as generation of foreign currency and creation of employment opportunities will remain a pipedream if the country lacks trained and certified tour guides.
“What qualifies them to be tour guides in their areas is the local knowledge that they have and this contributes to the varied service standards that characterize this informal sector. For them this is how they earn a living. It is against this background that we decided to help these guides acquire a more standardized training but most importantly, certification of their skills,” said Kaliati.