to Alendo Hotel estimated in millions
16:28:23 - 12 December 2007
Minister of Tourism, Wildlife and Culture Callista
Chimombo Tuesday toured gutted Alendo Hotel at the
Malawi Institute of Tourism (MIT) and assured members
of staff and students that the campus would not close
Chimombo and deputy minister Billy Kaunda visited
the campus following a fire Monday night that caused
extensive destruction to the hotel, MIT’s fundraising
and student attachment wing.
She said the campus was an integral part of government’s
plan to make tourism a vital cog of the Malawi’s
The minister said government would continue to support
the institute and would strategise on the way forward
in the face of the latest setback.
“This damage to the facility would surely affect
the gains and ambitions of government to have well-trained
personnel in the tourism industry. However, we must
have hope. This is not a hopeless situation. We will
not let this place close down.
“Classrooms are still intact. All the employees
are here. So we’re not going backwards,”
she said during a briefing with staff, students and
the media after she toured the destroyed facility.
The fire was reportedly started after an electrical
fault caused a television screen in one of the rooms
to explode at around 6pm on Monday. The fire then
quickly spread to 11 other rooms, a lounge and the
Blantyre City Assembly Chief Fire Officer Stanford
Nanfuko said fire fighters were on the scene within
five minutes after they were called at 6:36 pm.
They battled against the inferno until 8pm, Nanfuko
The hotel was fully booked at the time of the fire
but there were no casualties.
Sections of the burnt roof had caved into the en-suite
rooms where beds and bedding, television screens,
fans, kettles, flasks, fridges, curtains and doors
Telephone and electricity connections were damaged
such that there were no lights and telephones at the
institute as of Tuesday morning.
Some of the items were still smouldering at the time
of The Daily Times’ visited Tuesday morning.
The authorities were still assessing the monetary
extent of the damage, which is expected to run into
tens of millions of Kwacha.
Bettie Ziyada, a Hospitality and Tourism Management
student at the institute feared her group would be
affected as the students had been using the hotel
for their practical lessons.
“Most of the customers that visit our restaurant
are residential ones, which means we also had to make
their rooms as part of our lessons. This was equipping
us with the requisite skills. Now I don’t know
what’s going to happen,” she said.
But MIT Acting Director Milika Jumbe said students
that were at such level of training would be relocated
to the institute’s other facilities in Mzuzu
“Not many students will be seriously affected
for now. The classrooms are still intact. Most students
are at the moment writing exams until next week when
they will go on holiday. Afterwards they will go for
their attachments,” she said.
MIT, formerly Government Hotel Training School is
a specialist training institution in Malawi, sponsored
by the government.
However, 70 percent of the revenue for the institute
comes from its three hospitality facilities, which
include Lingadzi Inn in Lilongwe, the damaged Alendo
Hotel and Mzuzu Lodge.
The institute, an employer of over 65 people at its
Blantyre campus alone, runs three-year diploma programmes
in Travel and Tourism Management and Hospitality and
The institute’s management said the tragedy
would not affect its call for applications for the
January 2008 intake.