One of the outputs foreseen under the project entitled “Protection and Management of the Marine and Coastal Areas in the Eastern African Region (EAF/5), Phase II” is the Xai-Xai Beach Integrated Development Plan (IDP). The Project sponsored by the Swedish International Development Co-operation Agency (SIDA) was implemented by Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) in co-operation with United Nations Environment Organisation (UNEP), and executed jointly by Priority Actions Programme/Regional Activity Centre (PAP/RAC), Split, Croatia and the Ministry for Co-ordination of Environmental Affairs (MICOA), Mozambique.
Within the framework of the first phase of the Project, the Coastal Profile and the Integrated Coastal and Marine Area Management Strategy (ICAM) was prepared for the 67 km long coastal area of the Xai-Xai District as a pilot project. During preparation of those reports and at the workshop held in Xai-Xai, in August 1997, the need was recognised for the preparation of an integrated tourism development plan for the 10 km long Xai-Xai Beach coastal area.
Besides creating conditions for a sustainable tourism development in the Xai-Xai Beach summer resort, the pilot project was also intended to be applied to other coastal areas of Mozambique where tourism could be developed. To that aim, a training for national experts was organised during the preparation of IDP, which included research of similar examples of tourism development in the region (Kenya, Tanzania-Zanzibar), and in particular in the Province of Kwazulu Natal in the Republic of South Africa where tourism has already been highly developed almost in the same physical and natural environment of the high vegetated coastal dunes.
It should be pointed out that besides the co-ordinating role of FAO, and professional and methodological guidance provided by PAP/RAC experts, the dominant role in the preparation of IDP was played by national experts from Xai-Xai while the important professional support was provided by experts from the region, i.e. from the RSA. Taking into account the lack of examples of an integrated approach to tourism development in the coastal areas, and in particular of adequate plans for a sustainable tourism development, this IDP might also be used by other countries of the Eastern African Region.
At the final workshop held in Xai-Xai Beach, on May 20 – 21, 1999, which was attended by representatives of national, provincial, district and municipality authorities, local and national business representatives, and other stakeholders, the IDP proposal was discussed in detail and suggested to be presented for adoption at Xai-Xai District and Municipality Assemblies. It was recommended, among others, that similar plans be prepared also for other coastal areas in Mozambique where tourism has either started to develop, or is expected to be intensively developed.