Malawi has for the first time in its tourism history, crowned runner-up in the 2013 Safari Awards in the "Best Africa Tourist Board" category at an event that took place in London on Monday.
A statement from the Malawi Travel Marketing Consortium (MTMC) says Malawi was only been beaten by Kenya which boasts a marketing budget of 400 times greater than that of Malawi.
MTMC which is being supported by UK-based Geo Group has played a major part in the country's success and this has now been officially recognised.
The statement says with a growth in tourism numbers and 100 plus UK-based tour operators now proactively selling the destination, and over £1 Million worth of editorial coverage in the UK press, it's been an excellent year for Malawi's tourism industry.
Kelly White, Marketing Director at MTMC says they are delighted to have been honoured by such a prestigious award.
"It reflects not only our efforts but also the willingness of the UK travel trade to hear about vibrant, alternative destinations, as well as Malawi's growing tourism industry which has delivered plenty of newsworthy innovation and excitement," says White.
She, however, says they have to thank the press for writing such great things about Malawi, too.
"Malawi's charm and varied attractions make it a destination easy to get passionate and enthusiastic about," she says.
In recent times, MTMC says Malawi has witnessed an increase in the number of quality safari lodges including the likes of the new Mkulumadzi and Tongole, with more to open later this year.
MTMC says Kaya Mawa situated on Likoma Island in Lake Malawi was also awarded third place at the awards for Best Beach Property in Africa – another amazing achievement considering some of the ultra-luxury resorts it was competing against.
The statement also says Lake Malawi's Nkwichi Lodge was a finalist in not one but two categories, and it took third place in both Best Community Lodge and Best Ecological Safari Property.
"Malawi is not only gifted with stunning natural beauty and a hugely diverse culture and wildlife," the statement says, "but it also continues to offer more to tourists each year."
Many of the national parks and reserves, MTMC says, have undergone extensive restocking projects with places such as the Majete Wildlife Reserve now playing host to lions and leopards, as well as offering the full 'Big 5' experience.
"These trans-locations along with now well-established breeding sanctuaries mean that even rare and endangered species like rhino are thriving," it says.
The body says these have added to Malawi's existing attractions including Lake Malawi, the beautiful and varied scenery, and the country's long held reputation for being home to the most welcoming, warm-hearted Africans!
"We don't want Malawi to be just a fashionable destination, the challenge now is to work closely with travel professionals and the media to ensure Malawi stays right up there as a top destination," Kelly said.
She said the media coverage of 2012 alone is bound to getting eager tourists fired up about visit Malawi, so part of our job now is to ensure the trade are ready.
The body then says the Safari Awards are the Oscars of Safaris with nominations from over a thousand luxury travel professionals, hundreds of readers of Conde Nast Traveller, Tatler, Brides and Travel Africa Magazine you can rest assured that any safari business nominated for a Safari Award is amongst the best in its genre.
MTMC says finalists are amongst the top three percent in Africa and the Safari Award Winners are unquestionably the best, their reputation earned through excellence recognised by people who know what they are talking about.
Minister of Tourism and Culture Rachel Mazombwe Zulu said Malawi has made big efforts to market its self to the outside markets.
"This is a result of collaborative marketing efforts which was even boosted by selfless approach by our attaché in the Malawi High Commission in the UK," said the minister.
She said Malawi and her partners are also set to bring more travel journalists into the country.
She said her ministry is currently in the process of sourcing money to advertise on Super Sport and CNN which is an expensive venture and this is why it is taking time.