Maputo — 400,000 tourists are expected to visit Mozambique this December, according to projections from the Ministry of Tourism.
The peak tourism season for Mozambique runs from early December to mid-January, when large numbers of South Africans head for the beaches and islands of southern Mozambique. They are joined by an increasing number of Europeans, escaping from the northern hemisphere winter.
According to Tourism Minister Fernando Sumbana, the number of tourist visits this year is expected to be between 16 and 20 per cent higher than in 2007, when an estimated 1.3 million tourists visited the country.
It is estimated that, on average, a tourist stays in the country for three days, with a daily spend of 60 US dollars (excluding accommodation).
Sumbana admits that this is a very rough approximation, deriving from a survey in which a sample of tourists was asked how much they had spent. “We don’t yet have a statistical system that allows as to assess properly how much they do in fact spend”, he said.
Currently it is estimated that tourism contributes 2.5 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product, and that it has the potential to provide much more revenue, given that many of the country’s tourist attractions are still under-exploited.
Last year, revenue from international tourism was estimated at 163 million dollars, an increase of 17 per cent over the figure for 2006.
The Mozambican hotel industry cam provide about 17,000 beds, and employs directly over 37,000 people, of whom 50 per cent are women.