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A World of Opportunities: Unlocking the Potential of the Blue Economy in Mozambican Tourism

A World of Opportunities: Unlocking the Potential of the Blue Economy in Mozambican Tourism

  • Dado Gulamhussen • Board Member Viphotels and MD GHI Consultancy and Services gulamhussen@viphotels.com | gulamhussen@ghi.co.mz

The blue economy, focused on sustainable development through the exploitation of vast marine and aquatic resources, promises to boost economic growth, enrich livelihoods and preserve ecosystems. Mozambique, with its extensive coastline of around 2,500 kilometres and incomparable underwater natural wealth, is in a privileged position to capitalise on this promise.

Notably, the tourism sector accounts for approximately 5.6% of the country’s GDP, according to the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC). This approach is proving to be not only lucrative, but also fast-growing at a global level.

Evolution and Historical Context

The growing recognition of the challenges of environmental sustainability and the overexploitation of natural resources in recent decades has brought the concept of the blue economy to the fore. Forums such as the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) in 2012 emphasised the importance of the conservation and sustainable use of oceans and water resources, establishing the blue economy as a fundamental pillar for sustainable development.

Impact on the tourism sector

In the field of tourism, Mozambique has remarkable potential, benefiting from its long coastline, paradisiacal beaches, rich marine biodiversity (with more than 1,200 species of fish in its coral reefs) and vibrant coastal culture.

Tourism infrastructure, both basic and advanced, needs substantial investment, above the current 4% of the national budget allocated to it, and there are gaps in both high-level services and adequate professional training

Maritime tourism activities, such as diving, sport fishing and whale watching, not only promise to provide memorable experiences for visitors, but also foster the conservation of marine environments and environmental education.

Challenges ahead

Realising the full potential of tourism in Mozambique’s blue economy faces significant obstacles. Tourism infrastructure, both basic and advanced, needs substantial investment, above the current 4 per cent of the national budget earmarked for it, and there are gaps in both high-level services and adequate professional training. Environmental challenges, including illegal fishing, which accounts for up to 40 per cent of the unregulated catch, marine pollution and climate change threaten the sustainability of marine resources essential for tourism.

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Exploiting Potential

Maximising the potential of the blue economy in tourism in Mozambique requires the adoption of effective strategies, such as significant investments in tourism infrastructure and incentives for public-private partnerships. Promoting sustainable tourism practices and supporting community-based tourism can ensure the preservation of marine ecosystems and benefit local communities. In addition, environmental education and awareness-raising are crucial to the success of tourism in the blue economy.

Navigating Towards the Future

The blue economy offers Mozambique a unique opportunity to develop its tourism sector in a sustainable way, taking advantage of its natural maritime wealth. By overcoming existing challenges and investing in its potential, Mozambique can not only become a tourist destination of choice, but also contribute significantly to sustainable economic development, job creation and the conservation of its precious marine ecosystems. This “Sea of Opportunities” awaits conscious and sustainable exploitation, promoting a promising future where economic development and environmental preservation coexist in harmony.

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