Mozambique is a tourist’s heartthrob that provides everything from wanderlust adventure to traditional Southern Africa safaris and long swathes of over 2500km of pristine, untouched beaches ideal for holidaymakers who revel in sun and sand for all year-round summer rendezvous.
The country, however, is largely unknown for its tourism draw and offer, a situation Culture and Tourism Minister hopes to reverse. Appearing on the VA Tourism Podcast, Eldevina Materula said her plans for tourism is to increase tourism’s contribution to the GDP, ensuring an enabling environment for tourism investors to find the facilities and favorable conditions for their businesses to prosper.
“… but above all, my big challenge is to place Mozambique on the international market. I also want my country to be on the African map of intra-African tourism and become a reference destination in Safari, sun and beach and cultural tourism, we are a people with a unique cultural mosaic that can be very well used to improve the lives of my wonderful people,” she divulged.
Earlier in May this year, the Minister was in Spain where she met with UNWTO Secretary-General and participated in FITUR activities including INVESTOUR all in a bid to court investments into her country’s tourism and promote the destination. Ms. Eldevina also attended the Brand Africa Conference in Namibia where tourism leaders and stakeholders met to explore swift recovery strategies for the continent’s tourism sector.
Many hotels, restaurants, and tourism services providers, according to her, have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, resulting in the cumulative closure of 1,239 tourist establishments that affected 12,027 workers, with over a 52.8% drop in international arrivals and a 95% drop in revenues.
“Due to this situation, it was necessary to readjust the annual plan to the new reality, which quickly led us to think and implement some initiatives to face the situation.
“As a country, we reinforced the capacity of our operators to remain operational, keeping jobs through lines of credit, but unfortunately this was not enough due to the impact that COVID-19 had on the businesses,” Ms. Eldevina said.
She added that, “We have adopted measures to ensure that tour operators implement security measures to bring confidence to their customers and from that internal exercise, we introduced the clean and safe seal, an initiative that aimed to ensure that hotel facilities were safe, follow all protocol procedures to ensure a COVID-19 free facility.
The country’s aviation sector, Ms. Eldevina said, had also taken a hit but is hopeful will bounce back with more international airlines expected to resume operations once the COVID-19 situation improves.
Beyond this, the Minister wants travelers all over Africa and beyond to know that “Mozambique has so much to offer as a destination, this includes an underwater paradise teeming with untouched coral reefs, unique and diverse cultural experience, captivating history of the country and vibrant, bustling, cosmopolitan African cities and towns.
“Personally I would say our unique selling point would the beautiful combination of ocean and bush safari (unique to Southern Africa) that we offer in the southern region of the country,” she emphasised.
Story: Samuel Obeng Appah