What are the strategic priorities you have set for INATUR?
The National Institute of Tourism (INATUR) aims to ensure the promotion and coordination of initiatives and activities related to tourism and to encourage those that relate to tourism or contribute to its valorization and also promote the touristic product. Based on that, all the activities of INATUR are intended to accomplish the Strategic Plan for the Development of Tourism 2015-2025, which aims to make Mozambique the most vibrant, dynamic, and exotic destination in Africa. For this reason, INATUR has been tasked with making the most of the country's existing touristic attractions, whether natural, cultural, and historical heritage, as well as attracting more investment for housing infrastructure construction, restoration, and entertainment. Two major actions set for INATUR for this year are the reclassification of tourist enterprises and the graduation of professionals at hospitality and tourism school. Currently, tourism represents 5.6% of GDP in Mozambique.
Is the ministry working on common visa projects like Zambia and Zimbabwe to promote tourism and business?
Regarding entry visas, there are two main points to consider. The government is facilitating entry for visitors and tourists, regulated by the Migration Law in 2014 that establishes, among other issues, visas, whose concession obeys certain requirements. In the Southern African Development Community (SADC) the possibility of a single visa system among the countries of the region is being considered. Besides Mozambique, there are some bilateral exemption agreements on visas with other countries in the region.
What are the main touristic and cultural initiatives planned in the country for the year 2016?
In 2016, in the province of Sofala the IX National Festival of Culture in the city of Beira will take place. It is a festival that brings together all local cultures at a national level. This will range from traditional to modern, from musicians to artists, and from sculptors to poets. This festival will be the highest cultural achievement of the country. We will also hold the largest fair in Mozambique's tourist sector's history, named “Discover Mozambique," which will take place in Maputo. It is a fair that will show the touristic, cultural, and artistic potential of Mozambique.
What efforts is the ministry making to ensure the sustainable development of the culture and tourism sectors?
Tourism is considered by the government to be one of the four priority areas for the development of the country. Due to its broad character, tourism boosts the direct, indirect, and induced development of other economic and social sectors. Our task is to continue boosting the growth of tourism through the laws, policies, and regulations that drive the sector in the performance of its mission to attract investment and bring tourists to the country. Since culture is a factor of social cohesion, due to the participation of citizens in the same cultural dynamics, it contributes to developing the sense of belonging to the same people, making it such an important factor for integration, pride, unity, and connection between communities at local, regional, or national levels. For these reasons, culture plays an important role in the development of society, through the integration of unprivileged social strata, admitting that their economic integration through learning and practice of an artistic activity is shown to be an effective means of combating poverty. This will enable the empowerment of communities.
What are your expectations for 2016?
We want to improve the development of the country's touristic product and implementation of the marketing plan. We also want to make social media and communication strategies better in crisis situations, as well as to strengthen the process of collecting and processing statistical data. Finally, we would like to develop tourist attractions and the promotion of tourism in general.