Political ‘instability hurts’ tourism in Mozambique

Players in the Mozambican tourism sector are complaining that political instability was drawing back investment.
Peace was still elusive in the southern African country as the government and the main opposition party have failed to reach a peace agreement following the 2014 October General Election.
The former rebel Mozambican National Resistance (Renamo) became the official opposition after a peace treaty in 1992 ended a 16-year civil war fought with the ruling Mozambique National Front party (Frelimo).
Tourism revenues had peaked in 2013 to reach $222 million against $195 million the previous year.
Since then, more than six seaside resorts have closed, with the loss of over a 100 jobs.
Summer holiday
The summer holiday season has already started, but unlike previous years, tourists were not flocking to Mozambican beaches.
According to operators, the tourism sector was shackled mainly by political instability.
The sector employs some 300,000 people and represents 3.4 per cent of GDP. The figures would be higher in the absence of political conflict.
According to Mr Albino Malileco, a representative of tourist operators in Mozambique, political tension remains the main drawback.
The sector reportedly received $870 million in 2013 while in 2012 the value was $696 million in terms of investment.
Other destinations
Even though 578 new tourism establishments have been created and the bed capacity has grown to 45,000, attracting clients has been difficult.
Low-level service in certain areas, corruption and the reputation for instability are the main reason tourists are seeking other destinations, Mr. Anthony Kooner, a tourist from South Africa, told VOA radio in Maputo.
But the minister for Tourism, Mr Silva Dunduru, says all the issues being raised were being dealt with.
He adds that by 2025, Mozambique will be a vibrant and dynamic tourist destination that could host more than 4 million tourists yearly.
Last year, the American magazine Travel + Leisure, cited Mozambique as one of the 50 best destinations to go this year.
The list also included destinations such as China, Italy, South Africa and the US.