Mozambique and India enjoy a warm and traditional friendship. Please, express your thoughts on this historical bond.
The history behind these two countries is rich and can easily be noticed through our cultural expressions. Mozambicans still preserve the traditions of the past that have been influenced by the Indian culture. I strongly believe that we have the right conditions to work together in joint initiatives to show the world the beauty of our traditions and culture. It is common to find in such families in Mozambique who have their roots in Goa Island. The Hindu community in Mozambique is extensive and are mostly engaged in commercial activities.
Tourism is a highly lucrative sector as it contributes 2.3% to Mozambique’s GDP. What is the country’s strategy to strive for more growth in this sector?
The government elected tourism as the fourth sector for the accelerated development of the country. Therefore, it defined 5 priority destinations for promotion. They are: Maputo for business; Vilankulo for leisure and beach experience; Gorongosa for adventure tourism and wildlife experience; Quirimbas for luxury tourism and culture experience; Niassa for ecotourism and wildlife experience. The government is removing the barriers by implementing the open skies policy, visa application at the point of entry, and has also created incentives for investment in tourism. With these policies, we hope to increase the number of visitors and jobs, and stimulate other sectors such as agriculture, services and industry, therefore reducing the imports and increasing the exports. We believe that tourism is an economic activity that contributes directly to the improvement of quality of life of the communities, residing in the tourist destinations.
You have been recently appointed by the Prime Minister Carlos Agostinho do Rosário as the new Director-General of the National Tourism Institute (INATUR). What are your future plans to make Mozambique the number one tourist destination worldwide?
The marketing strategy [2017–2021]has straight guidelines to ensure the implementation of Five-Year Government Program. Therefore, we will continue to engage in the actions that have already been started, with our full focus in the five priority areas, giving special attention to training, grading and re-grading of hospitality establishments, and promotion of tourism and investment. We will continue to be more aggressive in online marketing for both domestic and international markets. We will continue to engage with the private sector to stimulate as well.
Mozambique is a nation with un-spoilt destinations. What are your views on sustainable tourism?
The five priority areas are coincidently within some of the conservation areas and are also suitable for ecotourism. We are aware of the potential growth and the development of tourism in these areas. Thus, the government motivates partnerships with local communities to ensure that they are involved in all the projects and have equal share of benefits. The relocations of wildlife in parks and reserves and the policy of protection of wildlife and endangered species are highly supported by government. This will enhance the attractiveness of the sites, motivate more investments and will increase the quality of services.
How can Mozambique and India extend their bilateral relations through tourism?
Mozambique and India have strong relationships in sectors such as agriculture, science and technology, industry, health and commerce. In relation to tourism, Mozambique has a lot to learn from India, such as in destination marketing using the digital marketing tools, training in the hospitality sector, and conservation of tradition and culture. We believe that these areas would be considered in our bilateral agreements. Both countries have potential to be source markets in themselves. Indians will surely feel at home in Mozambique.
What is your message to the readers of Diplomacy and Beyond Plus?
Mozambique has many unique selling points: its culture, cuisine and history are vibrant. Visit Mozambique and enjoy a fascinating destination. We offer ocean-front boutique resorts, fine hotels in our main cities, the most awe-inspiring of natural landscapes, mesmerizing marine life in the ocean, and abundant wildlife in our restocked and revitalized national parks.