Maputo – Mozambique’s tourism revenue more than doubled in the past five years, hitting 200 million dollars in 2009 for the first time ever, the country’s tourism minister announced Wednesday.
Some 1.5 million people visited the southern African country in 2009, also more than double the 2004 figure, Minister Fernando Sumbana Jr was quoted by the weekly Canal de Mocambique newspaper on Wednesday as saying.
In 2004, the former Portuguese colony earned only 90 million dollars from tourism.
With its nearly 2,500 kilometres of Indian Ocean coastline, Mozambique was a premier tourist destination before the country’s 16- year civil war, which killed around 1 million people and wrecked basic infrastructure by the time it ended in 1992.
In recent years, tourists have begun returning to the country’s seaside resorts, game parks and colonial cities.
The government aims to attract 4 million tourists a year by 2020. Central to its plans is the World Cup in neighbouring South Africa next year: Mozambique hopes to lure many of the football fans for a short visit across the border.