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    20 April, 2009
Tourism a key economic sector
 

The average annual investment in Mozambican tourism was $600 million between 2005 and 2008, with a peak of $977 million in 2007, Tourism Minister Fernando Sumbana announced on 16 April.

Addressing the Assembly of the Republic, Sumbana said that the capacity of the country's hotel industry had been expanding at an average annual rate of 12 per cent. The number of beds had risen from 15,000 in 2005 to over 17,500 in 2008. The sector was now a major employer: Sumbana said that over 40,000 people work in Mozambican tourism, of whom more than half are women.

Known revenue from tourists visiting Mozambique rose from $129 million in 2005 to $185 million in 2008. The number of foreign visitors has more than doubled, rising from 711,000 in 2004 to over 1.5 million in 2008.

Local communities living in conservation areas receive 20 per cent of the tourism revenue generated in these areas. Sumbana said that, over the past three years, this has amounted to more than four million meticais a year, and the figure is growing at the rate of five per cent a year.

Sumbana said that Mozambique hopes to benefit from spin-offs from the 2010 football World Cup in South Africa, which will attract large numbers of tourists to the region.

The Minister also expected that the recent increase in the fleet of the national carrier, Mozambique Airlines and the modernization of Maputo airport and the airports in Vilankulo and Pemba, would allow the country to capitalize on World Cup tourist opportunities.

The government's ambition for the coming years, he concluded, "is to turn Mozambique into a world class tourist destination, with quality establishments"

 
 
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