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Analysis Of Tourism In Mozambique Tourism Essay

The energy crisis and global recession, in 1973/4 highlighted the structural deficiencies in the third world economies. The need of foreign exchange and employment, along with the concerns of inequalities, leakages and constant levels of poverty (Sharpley & Telfer, 2002). Even so, in the past two decades the Sub-Saharan Africa tourism has experienced a remarkable growth, a difference from 1.5% in 1970 to 4.5% in 2003 and is expected that the Africa’s share will increase to 5% of total international arrivals by 2020. Although, Mozambique tourism sector could not benefit from this recovery, because the two wars had occurred in between, a period that other nations including the neighbouring have managed to develop their own tourism industry. This essay is to explain the key factors that may contribute to the ‘success’ or ‘failure’ of tourism planning. Conscientious about ‘planning’ different terminology and thoughts, a range of illustrations and description that applies to Mozambique’s tourism plan (history, political, economy, social and development), and its aims will help a better understanding around the topic.


The absence of planning may cause unregulations, leading to a range of negative socio-economic and environmental impacts. So, in order to create and respond to the tourism concerns it is important to include a rational plan (Mason, 2003). Different approaches of planning have been presented: Boosterism; Economic; Physical/Spatial; Sustainable; Community and so on. Kadt, (1979), noted that the consequences of tourism planning are a result of the nation’s overall political economy, because it is what will determine the equality in the distribution of tourism benefits. Nonetheless, planning is a process for anticipation and implementation of changes that would maximize positive developments (William, 1998, cited by Mason, 2003). However, Mason, (2003) argued that planning is a very complex term and can be applied in many contexts, for example: in relation to individuals, groups, organisations and governments, but at same time to different geographic areas (urban, rural), or as well at local, regional and national levels. In accordance, Cullingsworth, (1997:5, cited by Hall, 2008) stated that planning is also, a sort of decision and policy making because they are connected and interrelated, planning is the process where goals are set and policies are made to implement them. However, it deals with interdependent and systematic decisions, rather than individual decisions. Many activities in the process cannot be isolated (bargaining, negotiation, politics, values) and the process of planning is only one part of the overall plan. Therefore, planning is more complex than Dror’s (1973) perspective of ‘set of decisions for actions in future’ (Hall, 2008). Besides, various such as Mason, (2003); McCabe et al., (2000:235) argued that the important is the process element of the plan, as it provides direction by enabling individuals to indentify ‘the path that is to be taken and the outcomes or end results’. On the other hand, Gunn, (1998) argued that by focussing on the physical design, there is a risk of failure in recognising the key principles of the planning process; the fundamentals that originated its creations, but he also added that by focussing on the process of planning rather than considering the product itself may possibly lead to planning being considered vague and theoretical.

Destination case study:


Tourism has been important to Mozambican economy since the Portuguese colonial period and was developed around three themes: sun and sea, wildlife and urban (dynamic environment). During the colonial period the Mozambique tourist arrivals were mainly from southern Africa and Portugal and were close to 400,000. However, since the colonial war conflict in 1973, tourism infrastructure and several animal species were destroyed, therefore the number of tourist and the tourism activity declined (Visser, 2004). After the peace-accord in 1992 initiatives to recovery the tourism industry has been applied (Sun, Sand and Sea, complemented by Eco-tourism; Culture; Water sports, Adventure and Urban Tourism).

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Frelimo has been in power since the country’s independence from Portugal in 1975 and has the majority of the parliamentary seats 191 out of 250. In 1990 a new constitution that provided for multipartysm was implement (, 2010). The country shift from one-party autocracy to multi-party democracy. Implemented institutional reforms for the re-schedulling of debt and loans; it ‘open up’ to the markets by adopting adjustment measures of liberalisation which included public/private cooperation (Kulipossa, 2006). There was a shift from centralised government approach based in a dictator state where single decisions were made and all the infrastructure belonged to the state (horizontal policy coordination across Ministries), to a decentralised approach (vertical policy coordination between different levels of govern) where the power of management was shared with regional and local levels since they were better positioned to deal with local needs and more able to implement policies and integrating the communities as part of the process . The government decided to open the nation market to private sector as they were better financially to build and reconstruct the infrastructures that were in need and because of their ability to bring foreign exchange to the country.

Even the govern of Mozambique being responsible for ‘Tourism Policy and Implementation Strategy’, is still fragile in experience and financial resources. To reduce the existing gap of linking policies with the actions, the nation’s government are dependent of foreign help, needing to defer the responsibility of tourism recovery, national or local economic development to the Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and Associations, (Rylance in Spenceley, 2008).


According to Rylance in Spenceley, (2008:29), the nation economy varies from inefficiency, poor infrastructure and high levels of corruption, which discourage foreign investment. Nevertheless, between 1993-2004 there was a growth of 7.2 GDP, an annual average of 8 per cent over the last decade. Additionally, there was a decrease on annual inflation from more than 54 per cent in 1995 to 13.5 per cent in 2003 and 9.1 per cent in 2004. Despite the achievements Mozambique remains one of the poorest countries in the world. The per capita income in 2004 was equal to $320 (UNDO, 2004 cited by Rylance in Spencely, 2008:29). Furthermore, the country remains very dependent of international help through donations and is largely dependent of the agriculture sector which employs 83 per cent of the population and is responsible of 80 per cent of the exporters and for 26 percent of national GDP (SNV Mozambique, 2007:3 cited by Rylance in Spencely, 2008). The influence and power of negotiation is weakened by the nation’s vulnerability and dependency upon a greater number of foreign companies. On the other hand, Mozambique governments have been accused of problems of corruption on the legislation and collection of revenues. Critics assert that Mozambique is pursuing mega projects that do not generate social benefit (, 2010). Nonetheless, during 2006 the tourism sector generated revenues around US$ 144 million, it is expected that the industry will became one of the major foreign exchange earner as it is increasing in its foreign investment (Jossai, 2010).


It has been recognised that as an economic sector, tourism has both positive and negative impacts over the society. However, with an adequate anticipation and implementation of strategic plan tourism can be developed with reduced impact in the natural areas: the several benefits of the industry upon the society can be maximised, and the disadvantages can be minimised or even eliminated. With this understanding Mozambican policies and planning developers have adopted sustainable actions aspiring a balance in the tourism development, humans, animals and ecological communities. The focus was to reduce poverty by adopting tourism sector as a tool for development, either by local supply of services and goods to tourism enterprises or by enterprises employing the poor; plus providing the means for improvement of health, education and sanitary conditions. Though, it may be assumed that the government have failed to provide the right tools for local involvement as it was incapable to support people with training and knowledge to reduce the barriers of getting locals involved in the tourism economies, did not have option than lead it to the NGOs and associations that have started to do so (Rylance in Spenceley, 2008). This is due to the government lack of capacity and low involvement in implementing and manage policies. Moreover, the shortage of available finance for small enterprises and the time needed to start a business, discourages the majority of locals from contributing to the sector. For example: to open a business in Mozambique it takes on average 153 days (World Bank, 2004 cited by Spenceley, 2008). McEwan, (2004, p7) argues that local tourism enterprises are prevented from getting involved in the business and remain very dependent of foreign investment and international aid. In fact foreign investment involves 70 per cent of the Mozambique tourism projects and local borrowing from banks, has high costs ’15 per cent interest in real terms’ (Rylance in Spenceley, 2008).

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As a reflection of predominance of business travellers, visiting friends/relatives and regional weekend trip of leisure segment, the average stay in Mozambique is around 2.3 days, comparatively low to Kenya 8.4 days average length. There are 2.030 tourist establishments in Mozambique which directly employed over 35.000 people. The southern borders are the visitors main entrance but investors are starting to show some interest in the northern areas (Pemba, Quiribas archipelago and Nacala). In 2001 the number of international tourist arrivals was just about parallel to the visiting numbers during the colonial period. The accommodation sector has a total of 12.000 beds, near 5,000 cope with the luxury standard or 3 star above on the international market. In compare, the city of Cape Town has something like 30,000 beds and Mauritius 19,600 beds. The national air lines are expensive and limited: operating three Boeing B737 which serves domestic connections from Maputo to the other main cities of the country (Beira, Nampula, Quelimane, Pemba, Lichinga, Chimoio and Tete) and regional routes to Johannesburg and Dares Salaam (Williams, 2006). The accommodations and tourism facilities (hotels, tourism resorts) are very expensive favourable for the wealthier customers. Furthermore, the human capital (residents, poor people) are mostly employed in low levels jobs such as cleaners and bar staff which reduces their chance of economic benefits as their wages and level is equally low (SNV Mozambique, 2006 cited by Rylance in Spenceley, 2008). The major investors of Mozambique’s tourism industry have recognised the uniqueness of the country, that is the fact of being the only in the neighbours that do not have Anglo-Saxon colonial past since was colonized by Portugal, and from the fact of having a mix of cultural environment and rich heritage of Arabic, Swahali, Portuguese and African influences (Williams, 2006). Conversely, as the majority of tourist are English speakers, this advantages is also a barrier since tourist and locals have communication gaps. In addition, the nation has a limited offer of tourism products, constrained to the ‘safaris games’ products. The investors and tour operates still reluctant in diversify and reach the unexploited areas by developing new tourism products and attract new markets. As a withdrawal affect the country competitiveness with exception of Malawi, is very low in comparison to the bordering neighbours (South Africa, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Suazilandia, Zambia). Although, there are indications of economic improvement since the civil war: increase in the national GDP, reduction of inflation and levels of percentage of poverty however, the wealth distribution of income still irregular by favouring elite groups and elements of government. In addition the country continues dependent on food import and, also vulnerable to the global prices (EIU, 2010).

One aspect of the tourism industry is the negative impact that it causes to the destinations. It, has been suggested by many, such as: Kadt, (1979); William, (1998); Mason, (2003); Hall, (2008); Spenceley, (2008), that the destination plan should encompass the tourism alternative approaches. Moreover, even the existence of different plan approaches or reasons of plan, it is assumed that they are imperative for the insurance of pathways to be taken as a mean to anticipate and correct possible events. In this basis, by adopting the national strategic plan for tourism, Mozambique allowed itself for any readjustments if necessary. The focus of the Strategic Plan for the Development of Tourism in Mozambique 2004-2013, (2004), was the business modern management approaches, tourism towards to product service quality and conservation, rehabilitation of wildlife in specific areas, co-operation with the neighbouring countries to consolidate and expand conservations areas, promote professional hunting industry and support communities to actively and effectively participate in tourism process, with the aim of four million arrivals per annum by 2025. The government priority was to reduce poverty and prevalence of HIV infection which even high is still lower than the regional average. This was intended to be done by building country prestige, broadcast possible investments, job opportunities, income generation, developing health and education (Ministry of Tourism, 2004). Seeing that, foreign currency plus capital investment into the tourist destination, permits a faster urban, social, economic regeneration and that worldwide tourism is the industry that employs most people and had shown some ability in adapting quickly to crises that have affected the world economy. Tourism was identified by Mozambique Government as a mean to promote local economic development (Gunn & Var, 2002). To minimise the negative effects of the industry on environment and culture, while as well maximises the economic and community benefits, the tourism policy is guided by the Tourism Law. (2004) which regulates licensing, provides the basis for sustainable growth and criminalises child sexual tourism; Action Plan for Absolute Poverty Reduction (PARPA), (2006) which sets social policies and programs to promote economic growth through tourism; National Tourism Code of Conduct, (2007), elaborated between the Ministry of Tourism and the Mozambique Confederation of Business Association (CTA) (, 2010). The objective was to generate new employments for the enhancement of people quality of life; increase the numbers of international visitors and investors by improving the balance of trade; fairly distribute the tourist benefits, and expand the industry in zones that present greatest potential, by providing a ‘more equitable development of the nation’, putting the emphasis on the relation between tourism and its environs; in addition for the tourism growth and for the creation of benefits to its people, the country was seeking for ‘greater national unity through tourism’; in order to protect regional architecture, monuments, conserve resources, balance planning of areas, and incentive the development of handcrafts and folklore, the tourism strategic plan recommends ‘protection of cultural and natural resources’ (Ministry of Tourism, 2004).

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An analysis of tourism in Mozambique, indicate that existing tourism mix are the ‘beaches’ and unspoilt ‘interior’ that offers greatest potential for the development of wildlife market. Conversely, the poor infrastructures contributes for low tourism products and, inhibits investment. Bearing in mind the nation natural resources as the tourism potential (2700 km of tropical coastline with diversity, rare ecological systems and rich historic cultural heritage), shall be said that the coastline is unplanned and uncontrolled becoming then, the biggest threat for the tourism sector. Moreover, the actions taken by the private business that are mainly interested in the immediate circumstances and profits, exclude factors of the market such as the preservation of public goods (parks, historic sites, beaches, infrastructures), externalities (simultaneous production and consumption of tourism, which restrict access to the coastal land, fishing and historic places) and external costs (not reflected like as the ‘opportunity costs’), causing the inability of the market system ‘Market failures’. Which prevent the nations ‘ achievement of the economic efficiency and reflect the social costs.

The key factors for Mozambique tourism planning are political, economic and social. Its ‘success or failure’ depends upon all organism together being able to share and achieve goals that would be difficult to achieve by themselves. Rylance in Spenceley, (2008) argues that there are ‘differences between the policy and practices of tourism-led LED in Mozambique’. Although, admits that there is a lack of statistical data for a firm conclusion. Nonetheless, the fact of government investment in megaprojects that do not generate social benefits may indicate a deviation from the key principle of the strategic plan: the business modern management approaches and the perspective of ‘development first’ instead of ‘tourism first’ (Burns, 1999). In conclusion, it may be said that tourism in Mozambique is in its early stages. It is very incipient, high levels of corruption, limited in air transport and road accesses, lack of experience and has expensive tourism services and facilities. Still, it can be said that it is hard to predict the directions it will take, and if the target arrivals by 2025 are realistic or not; so far there is potential, willingness and the initial steps were taken.

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