Construction of 5-star Crossroads Hotel in Blantyre launched by Tourisn Minister Usi

By Paul Chamdimba Nkhoma

Minister of Tourism, Culture and Wildlife, Michael Usi, says hotels must seriously think about making their services accessible to local Malawians who may not be able to afford the rates that are often charged to regular guests.

He said this on Tuesday, October 26, 2022 when he presided over the groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of a five-star Crossroads Hotel at Mount Pleasant in Blantyre.

He said he will be lobbying the hotel establishment in the country to try and come up with special packages, especially targeting locals, within specified periods, to give them a chance to sample the quality on offer from the country’s hotel establishment. Usi added that doing this would be one way of encouraging local tourism in line with his ministry’s strategy of promoting domestic tourism in the country.

The minister said the ground breaking ceremony is a clear manifestation of the vision and confidence that Z.S.T Investments Limited has in the economy of the country despite the setbacks that have been brought about by Covid-19.

“Z.S.T Investments is not new to the tourism sector in Malawi. They own the Crossroads Hotel chain in Lilongwe and here in Blantyre, and both of them have pioneered landmark projects in recent years that have transformed the landscape of not only the tourism and hospitality sector but also the outlook of our cities,” said the minister.

He said he was excited to honor the invitation to preside over the ceremony because he is encouraged by the fact that even in the midst the Covid-19 pandemic, people still see a thriving future for the tourism sector in the country, adding that his ministry will support the project every step of the way because it believes that integrated tourism projects like these will be the surest way to move the country to achieve important milestones in its quest to make tourism a major forex earner for the country in line with Malawi’s vision 2063.

Tourism Minister Michael Usi at the hotel construction launch

Said the minister: “This hotel project is a timely investment as it is in line with the Malawi 2063 which recognizes the potential of Tourism as one of the key economic drivers under the Urbanization Pillar. In addition, the project is also in line with my Ministry’s aspirations outlined in the country’s Tourism Investment Masterplan which my Ministry is developing to address the gaps that currently exist in our sector in order to ensure that the country can effectively compete at international level.”

He urged hotel establishments to seriously invest in the development of human capital whilst urging his ministry’s star grading system to include the quality of human resources as part of the criteria for star grading.

“Service quality starts from the reception that one receives just after arriving at a hotel, because sometimes the level of reception in hotels leaves a lot to be desired, and one wonders why some people are in the hotel business in the first place,” said the Minister, whilst commending staff at his ministry for not cutting corners in ensuring that all procedures are followed when investments like these ones are conceptualized .

In his speech, Chairman of ZST Investments Ltd, Haroon Sacranie said this flagship investment is the third major investment in Malawi to have come from the group since 2004, adding that this signifies the confidence that the group has in Malawi as an investment destination. He said this will be a 5-star hotel, which will have 96 rooms, and apart from offering conference facilities for over 1000 people at a time, the complex will also have shops; parking space for over 250 vehicles and a filling station.

“My projects always start with a vision, and Crossroads investments is one of the leading investments in the country. I would particularly like to thank President Lazarus Chakwera for his efforts to create an enabling environment for investors in the country, which is making it possible for us to implement our vision for investment. This project, apart from creating employment for the people that will be working at the hotel, will also indirectly create many jobs among suppliers in our value chain, which will include many people in the villages. We believe this is in line with government’s vision of creating jobs and uplifting the social and economic status of so many Malawians across the country,” said Sacranie.

Other speakers at the function included Blantyre City Mayor, Wild Ndipo and Acting PS for the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Wildlife, George Masinga.