Jakarta — Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi on Monday urged the countries bathed by the Indian Ocean to work together to transform tourism into a profitable, sustainable and inclusive industry.
In this way, he argued, a dynamic would emerge from tourism products and services which could be a driving force in the growth of the economies of those countries.
Nyusi was speaking in Jakarta during the third session of the Business Forum of the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA), held under the theme “Towards the Sustainable and Equitable Growth of the Indian Ocean Rim”.
The event is being held on the eve of Tuesday's summit of IORA heads of state and government.
In his intervention, Nyusi said the event was an appropriate forum for exchanging experiences, and sharing good practices and challenges, as well as to draw up common perspectives for capitalizing on tourist activity.
“We are tourist countries par excellence”, he said, “endowed with great natural beauty. We are united in the richness of the cultural diversity resulting from the integration of four continents, all of them bathed by the waters of the Indian Ocean”.
Despite the beautiful beaches, islands and marine biodiversity, which enchant tourists and scientists alike, these characteristics, Nyusi said, are not yet contributing to the welfare of the people in many of the IORA member states - hence the need to transform tourism into a profitable and sustainable industry.
The main constraint, he continued, lies in the absence or inadequacy of infrastructures which can facilitate the development of tourism. Tourism “has to do with access and flexibility”, Nyusi said. “Nautical sports, ecotourism, beach tourism, cultural tourism and business tourism are all influenced by the question of access”.
This meant, he stressed, that massive investment is required, particularly in air and sea transport. “The development of tourism has always been accompanied by the modernization of the connected infrastructures. It generates revenue for countries, and creates more jobs for their citizens”.
Tourism, Nyusi claimed, “can also contribute to the level of understanding and interaction between peoples, promoting peace and concord in the world”.
In Mozambique, he continued, the government has chose tourism, alongside agriculture, mining, energy and fisheries, as a key area for its socio-economic development strategy.
Far-reaching reforms are under way, he said, aimed at creating a business environment more favourable to investment in tourism. Procedures for licensing economic activities are being simplified, in order to encourage investors.
Nyusi hoped that Mozambique could learn from the experiences and visions of other countries in order to place tourism in a top position in its development strategy.