Xai-Xai IDP – TOURISM DEVELOPMENT FRAMEWORK
Perceived Health Risks
The recent upsurge in malaria in the southern African region, along with negative perceptions existing among South Africans and foreigners in general with respect to general hygiene conditions and the quality of medical services in Mozambique acts as a major deterring factor. These perceptions are maintained due to a general lack of knowledge of malaria and other tropical diseases such as bilharzia. For this reason most of the current visitors to Mozambican resorts such as Xai-Xai still mostly belong to the pioneer/adventure section of the tourism market.
Lack of Quality Self-Catering Infrastructure
Most of the successful tourism ventures in Mozambique currently fall under the up-market fully catered classification. This is mainly due to the fact that very little provision is made in terms of suitable infrastructure for tourists wishing to do their own catering. Not only camping grounds fall within this category, but also bungalows, chalets, holiday flats and homes.
A very complicated and bureaucratic process currently determines the approval of investments. This leads to potential investors in tourism (and other industries) feeling insecure as they often do not understand their rights and the level of authority they are subject to. For this reason quality establishments are wary of investment in Mozambique in general, and also in Xai-Xai Beach. The only investors still active are huge multi-nationals with the capacity to negate their risks and entrepreneurs with little integrity looking to make a ‘quick buck’.
Visas And Boat Taxes
As indicated in the demand assessment, South Africa is expected to be the source of upward of 60% of Mozambique’s tourists. However, South Africans are currently subjected to a tedious process in order to secure tourism visas for Mozambique. Removal of this administrative hurdle will be to the long-term benefit of tourism in Mozambique, even at the expense of loosing the funds raised in this manner. DINATUR (Strategic Planning Framework for Regional Tourism Development), have recommended the re-assessment of visa requirement.
Low Service Standards
Though Mozambique’s people are refreshingly friendly, their levels of professionalism and service need some improvement. This aspect should be addressed through effective and continued training and capacity building exercises.
High Price Structures
Despite the leverage supplied by their stronger currency, internationals, and more specifically, South Africans find Mozambique relatively expensive. The current high price structures applying around tourism resorts, such as Xai-Xai Beach are a result of distortions caused by the influx of aid agencies after the end of Mozambique’s civil conflict. Representatives of these agencies are normally remunerated in US$ and are therefore willing to pay for products and services in the same terms. Upon leaving, these representations left behind a pricing structure, which Mozambicans have become accustomed to, but which eliminates Mozambique as a budget destination for South Africans already bearing the cost and discomfort of travelling the long distance from South Africa. Pricing structures will have to be adjusted to reflect the realities of the Mozambican economy in order to make Mozambique a value for money destination for South Africans once again.
Tourism Development Framework
Protecting the Place
The founding principle eco- or sustainable tourism lies in the protection of the resource upon which it is dependent. This resource is often simplistically interpreted as being natural resources, but cultural and heritage related aspects often make up a crucial, though less