Jun. 30, 2015


 Hiuane Abacar

Mozambique

Hiuane Abacar

General Director, Mozambique Tourism Authority (INATUR)

TBY talks to Hiuane Abacar, General Director of the Mozambique Tourism Authority (INATUR), on promoting the industry internationally, MICE tourism, and improving human resources.

BIO

Hiuane Abacar was born in Ilha de Moçambique. He studied in Mozambique at the Instituto Superior de Relações Internacionais, and also studied International Marketing in Germany at Export-Akademie Baden-Wurttenberg. He has been General Director of INATUR since 2013. Previously, he was Economic Counselor in the UK from 2008 to 2013. He has also been National Director for Tourism Promotion in Mozambique for 10 years.

What are the key strategies of INATUR for the coming years to promote the tourism sector in Mozambique?

We have selected specific markets, and raised the quality of services, promoting our sunny beaches, the diversified and rich fauna and flora, historic and cultural experience and other Mozambican attractions. We are keen to continue our tourism promotion activities in the UK, Portugal (due to our historical ties), Germany, and China, where we cannot afford to miss such a major market, as well as Spain and South Africa. Doubtless, we will be supplementing our efforts with those that target new markets, such as Japan, France, Middle East, India, Russia, and Brazil, where we attended a travel show in São Paulo. In order to do that, we attend travel shows and host fact-finding trips for journalists and writers. Meanwhile, we continue our efforts in the domestic market, by promoting Descubra Moçambique, Feira Internacional do Turismo and the thematic festivals across the country.

What is the contribution of the tourism sector to GDP?

Tourism contributes 5.6% to GDP, but we are positive that within five years the figure can reach 8% to 9%.

What are Mozambique's competitive advantages as a tourism destination?

Mozambique's unique selling proposition is the combination of beaches, cultural and wildlife offerings. Mozambique also has a strong historical element that includes the Portuguese, Chinese, Dutch, Arabs, and Bantu tribes. Our cuisine itself is reminiscent of that of Arabian, Asian and other cultures. Our past is also reflected in our dance and music. Mozambique is also one of the safest places in Southern Africa. Vasco da Gama, when arriving to a warm welcome, called Mozambique 'terra da boa gente,' which means the 'land of good people.' Centuries ago, one of the first African samurais in Japan was from Mozambique.

How do you characterize the potential of Mozambique for MICE tourism?

Mozambique has many hotels, the occupancy rate of which is a surprising 70% plus. We believe that oil and gas are secondary to tourism, and this suggests a wonderful future to the country. Oil and gas are not mass employers, in contrast to tourism, which creates many jobs. Leisure tourism, meanwhile, is not confined to the beaches, but also entails safari and wildlife experiences. We are opening many more national parks, some of which are doing rather well. The world is changing its perception of safaris: they are no longer just about just spotting the Big Five, as people are coming to see local flora and fauna in general.

What is your assessment of human resource quality in the tourism sector? What should be improved?

We have two elements: marketing and human resource development, as we need to train more local staff in tourism and hospitality management skills. Toward this goal, we collaborate with several training schools and universities. We run short-term courses around the country, in eight provinces. In 2014, we were able to train more than 990 people. We are keen to establish a Kapulana Hotel schools. At the moment, we have small hotels called Hotel Kapulana, and are switching to Kapulana Hotel Schools to train staff. In small villages, finding accommodation is not easy. Instead of having 10-14 rooms, the Kapulana Hotel School has 46 to 50 rooms, with a more attractive architectural design. We have based our human resources strategy on the performance of these hotel schools for the next four to six years, with the goal of placing 2,000 to 3,000 professionals per annum in the tourism market.

What are the most urgent infrastructure and transportation projects?

I hope to see the development of marinas along the coast that could catalyze developments in the cruise business, as we have 2,700km of coastline. We are working on this at the moment with a number of European and American cruise companies. Unfortunately, the lingering threat of Somali pirates dampens the process. Another area I would like to see improvement in is the road network, for convenient access to beaches and islands. The third required improvement is the construction of additional Kapulana Hotel Schools. And moreover, if you want to see mobility in Mozambique, you need to invest in transport.

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