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Tourism in Malawi

Malawi recorded a total of 871,000 tourists in 2018, ranking 107th in the world in absolute terms.

That smaller countries regularly perform lower in a comparison of the absolute number of guests, is obvious. By putting the tourist numbers in relation to the population of Malawi, the result is much more comparable picture: With 0.044 tourists per resident, Malawi ranked 145th in the world. In Eastern Africa, it ranked 6th.

Malawi generated around 35.00 million US Dollar in the tourism sector alone. This corresponds to 0.28 percent of its the gross domestic product and approximately 1 percent of all international tourism receipts in Eastern Africa.

A global comparison can be found here › International tourism


Back to overview: Malawi



Development of the tourism sector in Malawi from 1995 to 2018

The following chart shows the number of tourist arrivals registered in Malawi each year. Anyone who spends at least one night in the country but does not live there for more than 12 months is considered a tourist. Insofar as the survey included the purpose of the trip, business trips and other non-tourism travel purposes have already been excluded. The number of people passing through within the same day, and e.g. crew members of ships or flights are also not considered as tourists in most countries. If the same person travels in and out more than once within the same year, each visit counts again.

The red line represents the average of all 16 countries in Eastern Africa.

Tourists per year in Malawi

Revenues in tourism

In 1995, tourism revenues amounted to 22.00 million USD, or about 1.6 percent of the gross national product. This corresponded to about 192,000 tourists at that time and roughly 115 USD per person. Within 25 years, the country's dependence on tourism has decreased substantially. Before the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, sales took up $62.00 million billion, 0.56 percent of gross national product.

In 2020, tourist receipts plummeted due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Of the $62.00 million billion (2019), only $35.00 million billion remained. This is a 44 percent decrease in Malawi.

Tourism receipts in Malawi per year

All data for Malawi in detail

YearNumber of touristsReceipts% of GNPReceipts per tourist
2018871,00055.00 m $0.56 %63 $
2017837,00035.00 m $0.39 %42 $
2016849,00030.00 m $0.55 %35 $
2015805,00039.00 m $0.61 %48 $
2014819,00036.00 m $0.60 %44 $
2013795,00033.00 m $0.60 %42 $
2012770,00035.00 m $0.58 %45 $
2011767,00036.00 m $0.45 %47 $
2010746,00045.00 m $0.65 %60 $
2009755,00046.00 m $0.74 %61 $
2008742,00043.00 m $0.81 %58 $
2007735,00043.00 m $0.97 %59 $
2006638,00045.00 m $1.1 %71 $
2005438,00048.00 m $1.3 %110 $
2004427,00075.00 m $2.2 %176 $
2003424,00066.00 m $2.1 %156 $
2002383,00045.00 m $1.3 %117 $
2001266,00040.00 m $2.3 %150 $
2000228,00029.00 m $1.7 %127 $
1999254,00042.00 m $2.4 %165 $
1998220,00025.00 m $1.4 %114 $
1997207,00032.00 m $1.2 %155 $
1996194,00031.00 m $1.4 %160 $
1995192,00022.00 m $1.6 %115 $


Our data on tourist numbers, revenues and expenditures are based on information from the World Tourism Organization. However, to ensure international comparability, the data for some years or countries were manually researched and corrected if they obviously included visitors without overnight stays. In these cases, the data were taken from the official communications of the respective national tourism authorities.

The WTO additionally points out that in some countries the number of tourists is only counted at airports, in others also at border crossings or even hotels. A comprehensive and reliable indication is therefore hardly possible in any country.

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