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Tourism Market in Mozambique


Tourism is the movement of people to destinations away from their place of residence for any reason other than following an occupation, remunerated from within the country visited for a period of more than 24hours. It is one of the world’s fastest growing industries and an important source of foreign exchange and employment for many developing countries. Since crossing many of the primary needs of the population, when harnessed it can be a key instrument to poverty alleviation and socioeconomic promotion and given to its sustained growth and resilience, can also contribute to facing the main global challenges of our societies

Mozambique is a country with a great potential to become a tourist destination at regional and international levels which origins from the relevant characteristics of its natural resources, cultural and historic value. But, despite the country’s tourism potential, the increase in investments and number of international tourist’s arrivals as well as its proximity to South Africa which is one of the world’s top tourist destinations, it still far from the expected and has little expression to the regional and international levels as a tourist destination.

The purpose of this paper is to contribute to a greater understanding on tourism market in Mozambique as a tourist destination by analyzing the tourism market development from 2004 to 2009. The research study was based in literature review for theory and problem discussion and the data collected from the Mozambique’s Tourism Ministry reports on tourism demand from 2004 to 2009.

The study shows that the high costs of tourism services for the local people and their small capacity of investment are the main factors for the slow development of domestic tourism. The tourism development in Mozambique is different when analyzing each province and type of tourists. Leisure and holidays is the main reason for visiting the country, followed by business and conference and, lastly visit relatives and friends. It also shows that its important to create guidelines to brand destinations differently and design specific tourism plans, according to specific characteristics of the tourist zones, create new marketing strategies which aim not only international tourists but also domestic tourists and specific policies for domestic tourism development, create incentive programs which stimulate and encourage the use of local architecture design and materials by local and foreign investors, create policies that stimulate and facilitate participation of the local communities in tourism projects, employment, training food furnishings and crafts and, complementary products.

1. Introduction

Tourism is the movement of people to destinations away from their place of residence for any reason other than following an occupation, remunerated from within the country visited for a period of more than 24hours ( It is one of the world’s fastest growing industries and an important source of foreign exchange and employment for many developing countries. With destinations not only in industrialized countries, but also in less developed countries in East Africa, Central America and South East Asia, when harnessed, tourism can be a key instrument to poverty alleviation and socioeconomic promotion, since crossing many of the primary needs of the population.

(World Tourism Organization, 1996).

According to Salgado e Cravo (1999), tourism industry employs about 204.000.000 persons in all over the world, generates 655.000 millions of dollars in taxes and pays 1.7000.000 millions in salary which make it a very important activity in the world. Due to the income generated by the consumption of goods and services by tourists, the taxes levied on businesses in the tourism industry, and the opportunity for employment in the service industries associated with tourism, it has become vital for many countries and a popular global leisure activity( and also a factor of social stability, mutual understanding among individuals and peoples and acquired an important cultural and moral dimension.

Tourism can be an efficient tool to advance international peace and understanding. It is growing steadily and needs to be viewed in its social, cultural and ethical dimensions and therefore in its potential to alliance of civilizations. It shares with religions and civilizations values such as tolerance, respect of diversity, respect of nature, rediscovery of oneself and of the others. Given its sustained growth and resilience, the sector is in fact, in ideal position to contribute to facing the main global challenges of our societies ( According to the manila declaration, 1980, tourism is an essential activity for the life of nations due to its direct effects on cultural, social, educational and economic sectors of the national societies and their international relationships. Its contribution to national economy and international trade makes it a significant factor in world development and one of the main economic activities in the world through its function in national economy, international transactions and in securing balance of payments equilibrium.

Tourism that focuses on natural environments is a large and growing part of the tourism industry. While it can contribute in a positive manner to socio-economic development and environmental protection, uncontrolled tourism growth can also cause environmental degradation, destruction of fragile ecosystems, and social and cultural conflict, undermining the basis of tourism.

The intangible nature of tourism industry services makes its quality control difficult but crucial and more difficult for potential costumers to evaluate and compare service offerings. In addition, instead of moving the product to costumer, the costumer must travel to the product which means spent money and time. As an industry, tourism has many components comprising to the overall travel experience. Along with transportation, it includes accommodations, food and beverage services, shops, entertainment, aesthetics and special events. To overcome this hurdle tourism, related businesses, agencies and organizations need to work together to package and promote tourism opportunities and align their efforts to assure consistency in product quality (Mahoney and Warnell, 1987). The different definitions of tourism in each country, the difference in census techniques, the great mobility of tourists and its several motivations, the heterogeneity tourism types are some reasons which make the tourism a difficult statistic object in definition and measurement (Salgado e Cravo, 1999).

Manila declaration 1980 says that tourism resources (space facilities and values) are available in various countries in risk of deterioration and destruction and belong to heritage mankind. The development of tourist activities cannot be prejudicial to economic and social interests of the population in tourist areas, to the environment and to the natural resources. The national and international communities and the states are responsible for preservation and conservation of historical, cultural and religious sites at all times.

In order to maximize tourism’s poverty reduction potential, multiple strategies may be required that combine action at the destination, at national policy level, and internationally. Since one organization cannot operate effectively at all three levels, complementary actions by different stakeholders are required at all levels to enhance the positive outcomes of tourism. The destination level relies primarily on initiatives by private companies, NGOs, and the communities themselves. Nationally the governments can reduce obstacles to informal sector participation. Internationally, the promotion of responsible consumer and business behavior and the establishment of enforceable international industry codes of conduct can also contribute towards poverty reduction potential of tourism (Ashley, Boyd and Goodwin, 2000, p6).

1.1. Significance of the research

Mozambique is a country with a great potential to become a tourist destination at regional and international levels which origins from the relevant characteristics of its natural resources, cultural and historic value. Its distinct local style consists of a blend of African, Arab and Portuguese influences and provides a contrast to the other southern African countries, offering an unique historical and cultural heritage, tropical beaches, coral reefs, spectacular landscapes, intriguingly rich architecture and small desolated islands close to the coast, Mozambique is one of the most enticing tourist destinations in Southern Africa.

In 2001, the country received about 400 thousands tourists, about 80% of the arrivals in Tanzania which is a country with the same natural characteristics and product lines but without the same proximity and access routes to south africa (one of the world’s top tourist destination). In the same period, South Africa received 6 million of tourists and according to WTO, is expecting to receive 30 million tourists in 2020.The tourism contribution to the Gross Domestic Product in Mozambique was also relactively low (1,2% in 2001). In 2002, the country received 900 thousands tourists mostly from the neihgboring countries. In south Africa, the sector contributes with about 8% to the national economy, in Sub-Saharian Africa with about 6.5% of the GDP and in the world with 10.2% of the GDP.

According to tourism in Mozambique.wikipedia.The free encyclopedia, by the end of 1990s tourism was the best growing sector of Mozambique’s economy and in 2005 the country registered the fastest growth rate in the world. Despite the country’s tourist potential, the obvious increase in investments and number of international tourist’s arrivals as well as its proximity to South Africa, it stills far from the expected and has little expression to the regional and international levels as a tourist destination, so, this research intends to analyze the tourism market development in Mozambique as a tourist destination from 2003 to 2008 and identify how to attract new tourist markets.

1.3. Problem discussion

Tourism is an attractive tool for economic development, especially in the developing world and has assisted many developing countries to move away from a dependency on agriculture and manufacturing (Tooman, 1997 cited by Kabia, 2005). Chosen for its ability to bring in needed foreign exchange earnings, income and employment; it has become a popular addition to economic development policies in many African, Asian, South and Central American countries. Although it seems to be adding substantially to the economic growth of many of these regions, many developing countries are not reaping to full benefits from tourism. More than two thirds of the revenue from international tourism never reaches the local economy because of high foreigner exchange leakage. Understanding the many ways that tourism profits can leak out of an economy and, devising strategies to minimize could make tourism a more effective economic development agent (kabia, 2005).

Worldwide, international tourist arrivals in 1999 are estimated at approximately 700 million, resulting in over $500 billion in tourist receipts and tourism generates nearly 250 million jobs worldwide (kabia, 2005).the increasing fascination potential economic benefits for destination areas(kabia, 2005).In the past two decades increased attention to the negative social, cultural and environmental impacts of tourism has also emerged, calling for more careful planning and management of tourism development (WTO, 1996). According to (Harrison & Husbands, 1996 cited by kabia, 2005) achieving sustainable tourism (the one that maintains economic benefits and limits associated negative impacts), lie in minimizing negative impacts by strategies such as environmental and social impact analysis, community control and segmenting markets.

The potential economic benefits of tourism are a major attraction for developing countries due to three pro-tourism arguments: the trend in demand for international travel is projected to continue at astonishing rates due to the economic stability and travel preferences of people in the developed regions such as Europe, Asia and North America ; the income elasticity of demand for tourism means that the household incomes of people in the developed world increase, more disposable income will be directed towards travel and, developing countries are in need of foreign exchange earnings to support their economic development initiatives and to satisfy the demands of their residents (kabia, 2005).

Today traveling for pleasure (leisure, recreation holidays and visiting friends and relatives) is the most common form of traveling. People have a number of different motivations for traveling. Some people travel for sun, sand and sea while others, are most interested in cultural and sporting activities associated with the travel. When surveyed people tend to list the following reasons for travel (Walker, 2004):

– To experience new and different surroundings

– To experience different cultures

– To rest and relax

– To visit friends and family

– To view or participate in sporting recreational activities

According to the same author, longer life spans (people live longer and have better health), flexible working hours, early retirement, greater ease of travel, tendency to take shorter but more frequent trips and increase on standard of living are factors contributing to an increase on number of traveling in the coming years. The future travel patterns are vary hard to predict but there are number of trends and factors that will definitely impact on how, where, when and why we are going to travel.

Visitors often come from particular socioeconomic layer of the population of industrialized countries and capital surplus, which requires relatively sophisticated market research to identify and analyze and profiles the preferences of these visitors. Although in these countries a prosperous minority exists that is capable of undertaking domestic tourism, many inhabitants lack the income and wherewithal to travel, so, the research must not focus only on measurement of domestic tourism but on ways and means to improve access of underprivileged layers of the population to holidays and travel, and on devising economical, but adequate means of supply (accommodation and transportation) to achieve this aim (kabia, 2005)

As we know, when harnessed, tourism can be a key instrument to poverty alleviation and socioeconomic promotion, since crossing many of the primary needs of the population.

1.4. Research approach

According to Denscombe, 1998, the research approaches can be divided in two: qualitative and quantitative. A quantitative study is associated with numbers as the unit of analysis, analysis, large scale studies, a specific focus, researcher detachment and a predetermined research design while a qualitative study is associated with words as the unit of analysis, description, small scale studies, holistic perspective, researcher involvement and an emergent research design. This thesis is a research quantitative since it uses numbers as unit of analysis of the tourism market as a tourist destination in Mozambique. According to Fretchling (2001), the careful forecaster will inquire into how the data to be used was collected and processed to understand what measurement anomalies may be present and how much of the variation through time is due to sampling error. My study was based in already existing data records, which made it difficult to predict and prevent eventual mistakes occurred during the data collection process, but some studies indicate that is difficult to determine the economic performance of the tourism sector in Mozambique due to difficulties in collecting data and statistical indicators of some revenue like, average rates of occupancy and international flows in the country.

1.5. Outline of the thesis

The presented thesis is basically composed by four parts:

Introduction – this part introduces the area of study, presents the significance of the research, problem discussion, research approach, outline of the thesis and finally the purpose of the thesis.

Methodology – this part gives a brief and clear description of the methods used when conducting the study.

Mozambique’s tourism sector overview – this part presents a general description on tourism in Mozambique

Findings, conclusions and recommendations – the final part, reaches and describes the research purpose by analyzing, commenting and suggesting on how to improve the performance of the tourism sector in Mozambique.

2. Research purpose

The purpose of this paper is to contribute to a greater understanding of tourism market in Mozambique as a tourist destination by analyzing the tourism market development from 2004 to 2009, through:

– characterizing the tourism market development in Mozambique from 2004 to 2008;

– Identifying some of the main constraints and contributing factors to tourism development in Mozambique.

– Identifying how to attract new tourism markets

3. Methodology

3.1. Literature review

To make the study clear and well planned, first was used the method of library research which means that the information was taken from different sources related to tourism industry. Denscombe (1998, p. 58) cited by tese2, says that a research should always start with a literature review that:

– shows that the researcher is aware of the available existing work already undertaken in the area

– identifies what the researcher takes to be the key issues, the crucial questions and the obvious gaps in the current state of knowledge

– provide signposts for the reader about where the research is coming from – it allows the reader to see which theories and principles have been influential in shaping the approach adopted in the proposed research

In this study, databases Elsevier Direct Science was used in order to find full text studies from academic journals that are related the area of research using search words such as: Tourism, Ecotourism, Tourism analysis, Destination, Destination Marketing, Destination Management, Tourism in developing countries, Tourism market in Mozambique.

Public libraries, websites like,,,, as well as textbooks and doctoral thesis were also used to find more theory, gain more insight and latest information about the research area.

The research was based on data records on tourism market demand in Mozambique from 2004 to 2009 received from the Ministry of tourism, planning and cooperation department.

3.3. Research strategy

The research strategy consists of a quantitative method for collecting and analyzing data. Tourism demand data can be compiled from administrative reports such as counts of tickets sold, passenger carried for transportation. Theme parks, museums and other attractions also produce administrative records. Commercial lodging places in most countries are required to keep careful records of the number of guests and length of stay. Sample surveys and direct observation are also techniques used to estimate tourism demand data. (Fretchling, 2001). These are also the main methods used in Mozambique to estimate the tourist demand. Due to lack of resources in terms of time and money I had to limit myself to the Mozambique’s Tourism Ministry reports on tourism demand. The information collected was related to Mozambique’s tourism market from 2004 to 2008.

Information retrieval, libraries and other related information centers were also consulted and, relying on the data collected that enabled to organize and guide this study and its analysis, was written this research report.

4. Tourism in Mozambique

4.1. Mozambique’s tourism sector overview

4.1.1. General information about Mozambique

Mozambique is located on the southeast coast of Africa, to the east is the Indian Ocean; to the north, Tanzania, Malawi and Zambia; to the west, Zimbabwe and South Africa and to the south Swaziland and South Africa. The country has a total area of 799380 km² with approximately 20 millions of inhabitants of a diverse cultural environment with several ethnic groups and religions (tourism guide)¼Œit is ranked 33rd country in the world according to its size. It is formed by 11 provinces and its capital is Maputo.

Portuguese is the official language but the linguistic diversity is one of its main cultural characteristics. Each ethnical group has its own language and for the majority of the population, mainly in rural areas, the national idioms are the mother tongue and the one most used on a daily basis (tourism guide). Most educated people speak English which is used in schools and business as second or third language. Altogether this accounts to approximately 43 different languages.


There are many religions in Mozambique but the 1997 census showed, 23.8% Catholics, 17.8% Muslims, 17.5% Zionist Christians, 17.8% other, 23.1% none (

4.1.2. Tourism in Mozambique

Mozambique is a country of contrasts and extreme beauty, with attractions ranging from crystalline beaches, nature reserves and parks, plenty of opportunities for fine adventure and business travel and a huge historic and cultural value which attract tourists from all over the world interested in adventure, leisure, business, ecotourism, religious tourism and others(MINTUR, 1999).

The country is now investing on recovering of its wildlife, with a great variety of nature reserves, and its likewise devoting resources to tourism with a high quality hunting safaris, but at the same time working to develop greater awareness of the natural environment. In the towns and cities, a great diversity of history and culture is melded into the architecture and the pulse of daily history life can be felt from the bustle of the markets to the striking handicrafts, from the museums to the bars and restaurants (tourist guide, 2007).

Due to its nature diversity composed by tropical and crystalline beaches, with hot water creating opportunities to practice fishing and aquatic sports, sub aquatic richness composed by varieties of species, animals, coral reefs and rich in archaeological finds with great ecological value is known as “the Indian pearl” (MINTUR, 1999) and considered one of the world’s new sanctuaries (tourist guide, 2007).

4.1.3. Tourism development in Mozambique

Tourism has become regulated and supported by the colonial government in the second half of the 50ths with the creation of the first information and tourism centers and establishment of the first tourist zones. In this period the tourism was basically characterized by safari tourism with international character (around 50% of tourists were Americans) leading to regeneration of the campsite service to the detriment of the hotels.

After the independence (in 1975) there was a great depression in national tourism industry as result of the difficult relationship with the two countries in the region which formed the main market (south Africa and Zimbabwe), lack of technician to plan and manage the tourism sector, the armed conflict that destroyed the tourist infrastructure as well as the flora and wildlife, and blocked access to communication and transportation. The tourism industry was basically constituted by international cooperation missions.

The end of the civil war (in 1992) and the development of the structural adjustment program defined a restoration program for tourism sector considering tourism as a sector of maximization of foreign currency entry and job generation, to enhance regional development and distribute its benefits to all areas of the country as well as to project a prestigious image of Mozambique abroad and promote greater involvement of national enterprises in tourism undertakings. Due to the speed and decentralization in evaluation and approval of projects, improvement of security in business environment, resulting from the new program implementation, there was a rapid growth of investment in the sector, goods and services as well as travel agencies and promotion of national and domestic tourism campaigns.

According to (MINTUR, 1999), the ministry of tourism is the central organ of the state which is responsible, in accordance with the principles, aims and tasks defined by the government, for the application of the policy for the tourism in the public, private and community domains.

The tourism law, is the instrument used, was established bearing that Mozambique has tourism resources that place it in a favorable and competitive position in the regional and international tourism market, and considering that tourism needs to be developed in a sound, sustainable way in accordance with its cross cutting nature, recognizing tourism’s eminently dynamic character in promoting jobs and generating foreign currency, and the need to bring existing legislation up to date, it is incumbent upon the state to update relevant legal instruments (MINTUR,1999).

4.1.4. Tourist zones

Mozambique is very rich in natural resources (land, sea, fauna and flora). The type of land and climate has created three different varieties of vegetation, dense forestland in the high parts of north and centre of the country, woodland and savannah in the south and mangrove along the coastline. In terms of wildlife a variety of species can be found in these ecosystems as well as beautiful landscapes and views along the coast and in the higher mountainous areas (tourism guide, 1999).

The tourist zones in Mozambique are subdivided into three (north, center and south) with different geophysics characteristics, socio economic development and tourist profiles (Salgado e Cravo, 1999).

a) North (rich in cultural resources)

With a unique identity in Southern Africa, the region is composed by Cabo Delgado, Nampula, Niassa and Zambézia provinces. (3) Due to its great touristy potential and tourism products which need to be exploited is called the “Jewel of Tourism (2)

Tourism is mainly concentrated in Nampula, Nacala and Pemba cities. (2) Is an exclusive destination for international and regional markets, with beaches and tropical islands, scuba diving and deep-sea fishing activities, with a strong cultural influence and Strong market opportunities for eco and hunting tourism (3) There is a growing interest by investors in new project infrastructure such as hotels, hostels, campsites and others. (3)

The marine life and the beauty of probably one of the world’s most beautiful archipelagos, the Quirimbas archipelagos, the forest intact and extensive part of the Niassa Reserve and the unique biodiversity of Lake Niassa.(2)

In this region, outstands, “ilha de moçambique” (mankind heritage by UNESCO), Ibo island (with a wonderful marine life), Quirimbas archipelago,Niassa reserve and Niassa lake (tourism guide, 1999)

a) Mozambique island b) Mozambique island

c) Niassa Lake d) Ibo island

b) Center (rich in natural resources)

Composed by Sofala, Manica and Tete provinces, this region is based on nature and wildlife, characterized by business facilities, beaches, exotic animals (is what really attracts tourists) around conservation and preservation of wild species areas. It’s an exclusive destination for adventure tourism and ecotourism for specialized markets (Hiking, appreciation of birds, hunting, fishing, ecotourism) and important to the business market and sun, sand and sea tourism for domestic and regional markets (3)

The city of Beira is the country’s second city and an important regional economic center. Its port plays an important role in linking Mozambique with Zimbabwe and other neighboring countries located in the center and the city’s tourism is based on commerce and trade.(2)

In this region highlights are, Gorongoza national park (was one of the most famous in southern Africa), Chimanimani and Marromeu reserves and, electrical barriers of Cahora Bassa and Chicamba Real (tourism guide, 1999).

a) Gorongoza national park b) Gorongoza national park

c) Electrical barrier of Cahora Bassa d) Electrical barrier of Chicamba Real

c) South (rich in coastal and marine resources)

Composed by Maputo, Maputo City, Gaza e Inhambane provinces,is a perfect national and regional destination for sun, sand and sea and water sports holidays (3). This region is benefiting from considerably higher levels of development and has the best infrastructure of the whole country and concentrates almost 50% of the national tourism (over 50% of the total of registered establishments and 65% of the total beds).

With a vast coastline with beaches and tropical waters and marine resources of exceptional quality (3), and beautiful landscapes, the region is characterized by business and leisure tourism.

Maputo concentrates business tourism, while leisure tourism basically composed by diving, eco-tourism and culture (3) is progressing satisfactorily in various parts of Maputo, Gaza and Inhambane provinces. (2)

The tourist infrastructures in this region are accessible and of the most varied ranges.The beaches of Vilanculos, bazaruto,Bilene, Xai Xai, Macaneta are essential for a good family tourism, Ponta do Ouro and Ponta Malongane are the major poles of attraction for watersports tourism practitioners and enthusiasts.(2)

The fact that this part of the Mozambican tourist attractions have derived from the ecological environment, the occurrence of natural phenomena, reinforces the interest of tourists to know and enjoy the privilege of coming in contact with such beautiful landscapes.(3)

The highlights are Limpopo National park, Bazaruto archipelago, and special elephant’s reserve (Tourism guide, 1999).

a) Elephant’s reserve b) Limpopo national park

c) Aechipelago of Bazaruto d) Aechipelago of Bazaruto

5. Literature review

5.1. Destination

5.1.1. Definition

Destinations have emerged as the fundamental unit of analysis in tourism (WTO, 2002) and form pillar in any modeling of the tourism system as most tourism activities take place at the destination (Pike, 2005).

A tourist destination is defined as a physical space where visitors spend at least one overnight (WTO) or as the focus of facilities and services designed to meet the needs of tourists (Cooper et al, 1998). It includes tourism products such as support services and attractions, and tourism resources within one day’s return travel. It has physical and administrative boundaries defining its management, and images and perceptions defining its market competitiveness (WTO).

A tourist destination describes a geographical space which provides all parts of a destination’s supply (attractions, amenities and access) to satisfy the needs of specific tourism segments during their vacation or it includes elements of the supply chain: accommodation and gastronomy, entertainment and leisure time amenities, transportation, information. While these services are delivered by different suppliers, they are offered to their consumers as one unit. The destination’s dimension or size is perceived differently by the visitors depending on: its distance to the visitor’s place of origin, its popularity and image as well as the visitor’s travel experience (Kloiber¼Œ2008).

According to Buhalis (2000), it can be characterized as the six frameworks:

– Attractions (natural, man made, artificial, purpose built, heritage, special events)

– Accessibility ( entire transportation system comprising of routes, terminals and vehicles)

– Amenities (accommodation and cat

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