Bazaruto, Mozambique - Mozambique is mobilising investments in the tourism industry, for the country to benefit considerably from the large number of tourists who will visit South Africa for the 2010 World Cup football competition.
The PANA quoted Tourism Minister Fernando Sumbana as telling the Mozambican news agency, AIM, that new tourist establishments, including hotels and holiday homes , have been approved, mostly in Maputo.
He admitted “the challenge is to continue mobilising investments to develop other potential areas already identified.”
The areas included the northern province of Cabo Delgado, Mossuril, in the neighbouring province of Nampula and the Vilankulo area, in the southern province of Inhambane.
Sumbana claimed that medium to long term projects in these areas were valued at US$ 1.1 billion for Vilankulo, US$ 1.2 billion for Cabo Delgado, and US$ 800 million for Mossuril.
The investments, to be implemented between five to seven years, would create 20, 000 new jobs.
As for the spin-offs from the World Cup, Sumbana said the government had mobilised investment of about US$ 500 million for new accommodation, including hotels o f three to five-star qualities.
Among the new ventures is a five-star, 150-room hotel to be built at the Joaquim Chissano Conference Centre on the Maputo seafront, at a cost of US$ 80 million.
Work should already have started, but, despite all the government’s speeches against red tape, “bureaucratic questions, such as licences, are holding it up,” Sumbana said, adding “however, the investment has already been mobilised.”
A much larger investment, put at US$ 320 million, is the building of two hotels and several holiday homes on Xefina Island in the Bay of Maputo.
Here the work has been held up by geography - the investors have found it diffic ult to transport equipment to the island, because there is no bridge from the mainland to Xefina.
Desite these constraints, Sumbana believed that one of the Xefina five-star hote ls would be ready by early 2010.
In the Mozambican section of the Greater Limpopo Cross-border Park, in Gaza province, investment of US$ 83 million is under way to build a hotel of 100 rooms and holiday homes with 200 rooms.
Given the proximity of the new hotel and homes to South Africa, Sumbana was conf ident they would attract tourists during the World Cup.
He disclosed that a project was also in hand to build a three-star hotel, with 80 rooms, valued at US$ 12 million in the southern city of Matola, which he believes would also be ready before 2010.
Sumbana was speaking ahead of a meeting Saturday, on Bazaruto island, in Inhambane, with his South African and Swazi counterparts, intended to discuss how to attract more tourists to the region.
Earlier in the week, Sumbana and American millionaire Gregory Carr signed an agreement for the co-management of the Gorongosa National Park, in the central province of Sofala, for the next 20 years.
During the 20-year period, the Carr Foundation promised to invest a minimum of U S$ 1.2 million annually in the park.
The counterpart from the Mozambican government will be US$ 150,000 annually, for the first three years.
In the first five years, the stress will be on restocking the park, which lost most of its large mammals during the war.
Another 4,000 animals will be brought into the park, including endangered specie s such as rhinoceros.
As for tourist infrastructures, a further three camps, two of them luxury standard, will be built in the park.
According to Sumbana, the adoption of the joint management model allows access to a greater diversity of sources of funding, and reduces the burden of the park on the state budget.
Community involvement in the park management will also be maximised, ensuring th at local communities enjoy benefits from natural resources.
The government hopes that, as from the fifth year, the park will be receiving 500,000 tourists a year, with an income of US$ 75 million (on the assumption that each tourist will stay for an average of three days, and spend at least US$ 50 a day).
The Gorongosa Park contains 54 separate ecosystems, ranging from the Cheringoma plateau, to the flood plains of the Pungue river, to miombo woodlands, to Lake Urema, to the Gorongosa mountain range that gives the park its name.
Bazaruto - 27/06/2008