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3.4 Development Potential and Constraints

From the analysis, the tourism development potential and constraints as well as the threats to tourism development were identified.


Xai-Xai has massive untapped potential for tourism, which gives it a competitive edge. The most important feature is the natural beauty of the area, with its high quality beaches, safe beachfront lagoons, warm sea, temperate climate and the undulating green dunes.

It also has natural resources such as the abundant marine life and the corals of the Baixos de Inhampura reef, which makes it excellent for fishing and diving.

With regards to the built environment, it has interesting modernist architecture that is part of its colonial heritage. It has impressive public buildings and spaces. This gives it a unique character.

From a functional point of view it is easily accessible from Maputo and conveniently close to the northern areas of South Africa and there is still ample vacant land which can be developed.

Further, its historic popularity as a pleasant resort destination during colonial times makes it widely known.


There are, however, various constraints which have to be addressed in order to fully develop the potential of this area. These are:

  • The lack of facilities and infrastructure for tourism;

  • The lack of a clear procedures for development;

  • The granting of concessions in various areas to developers who are not serious about development, has sterilised the land for other development; and

  • Another detrimental effect of the current approach to awarding concessions is that land is being awarded in leaps and bounds. This not only negatively impacts on the value of concessions – the values are low due to a high supply, but also complicates the supply of infrastructure and services due to the distance of these concessions from the existing infrastructure.


The following threats can seriously prevent the area from reaching its full tourism potential in the long term:

  • The high level of poverty, which leads to the destruction of the natural environment and marine life through subsistence agriculture, the felling of trees for fire wood and the over-harvesting of marine products;

  • The destruction of the natural environment caused by footpaths and insensitive development;

  • The potential overpopulation of the area due to migration of local population and influx of tourists; and

  • Low quality development if development and the issuing of concessions are not controlled and serious investors attracted.

If these issues are not seriously addressed, the quality of the area will gradually deteriorate, thereby losing the current tourism potential.

3.5 Development Strategy

The development strategy should aim to integrate all sectors of development: physical, social, economical and institutional. Only if this is done will sustainable development be achieved. Firstly, the natural resources should be protected. Secondly, the needs of tourists must be


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