NMTP Project Components
The Northern Mozambique Tourism Project (NMTP) will focus on increasing tourism arrivals and expenditure through the promotion of a Northern Mozambique tourism product; attracting investment and creating jobs, building capacity of local service providers, while also preserving the environment. The Northern Mozambique Tourism Project (NMTP) has three main goals, these project components follow:
The Northern Mozambique Tourism Project is using a three pronged approach to attract tourists to Northern Mozambique. Branding, Marketing, and Promotion The project is working to create brand recognition for the Northern Arc as an international tourism destination. This involves working with the existing private sector to improve quality and marketing for their products and services, building the capacity of provincial tourist boards to market their provinces. During the first year of the project heavy emphasis was placed on designing a marketing plan and branding strategy. This included doing an extensive review of existing tourism marketing studies, conducting surveys on key segments related to the project, and holding focus groups. Finally, the project hired an award-winning international marketing firm to create the National Brand for Mozambique, which was finished and approved in 2009. The brand will provide basis for marketing Mozambique worldwide as a destination for tourism and investment.
The project will focus on the rehabilitation of Ibo Island which, as part of the Quirimbas Archipelago, was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2008. The project has hired both local and international historic preservation experts to rehabilitate Fort Sao Joao Batista and two others on the island. Each fort has been made structurally sound to allow for visitors. The largest of the three, Fort Sao Joao, has benefited from a complete makeover including resurfacing walls, rebuilding ceilings, walls, and the roof with local materials, and transforming spaces into studios and display space for craftsmen and conference or meeting spaces. The transformation of the fort has lead to employment opportunities that didn’t exist before as well as training in historic restoration for local workers. The training in restoration has also lead to improvements in other historic sites and homes around the island. In addition to work on the forts, progress continues to be made in updating and repairing the Central Mosque, an effort that has been in partnership with the local community. The project also completed a children’s playground in the central square of the town. The Ibo Island historic sites are slated for nomination as a UNESCO World Heritage site in the upcoming year, largely due to the restoration work that has taken place through the project.
Development of Interpretive Services
The project will take advantage of the unique heritage of Northern Mozambique to identify and train tour guides in key areas throughout the Northern Cooridor. Additionally the project will develop the infrastructure to handle greater traffic and make the region more accessible and pleasant for travelers. Specifically, this component will focus on creating tour packages, informational exhibits, clean up programs for local areas, and building local knowledge of the history of the area. In addition, heavy focused will be placed on community involvement in the development process as well as promoting appreciation for local customs and traditions among travelers. The project is also working with Solimar International and National Geographic to develop a geotourism program for the Arco Norte region. One of the first of its kind in the world, this program allows the Northern Mozambique Region to join a select group of countries and regions working following the principles of geotourism to promote tourism that enhances and sustains the environment, culture, and heritage of tourism destinations. This activity also lead the development of a Geotourism MapGuide that showcases the geotourism attractions in the region and is helping to improve promotion of a Northern Mozambique tourism product. The project worked directly with communities across the country that nominated themselves to be included in the guide based on characteristics they felt people would be interested in visiting such as local flora and fauna, historic structures and archaeological sites, scenic landscapes, traditional architecture, or local culture or traditions. The map has been printed and will begin distribution this year.
A key component of the project has been planning for the type and breadth of quality investments and developments that will occur. In 2006, experts came from George Washington University in Washington, D.C. to create a Destination Management Plan that provides an assessment of the current state of tourism and then focuses on the potential for development in each district. Product Development and Marketing trainings were also provided in all three provinces of Arco Norte for owners and managers of private sector tourism businesses as well as members of the provincial tourism departments. The project also hired an international expert to create a Conceptual Landuse Plan and Framework for Tourism Investment, which creates guidelines for development and investment in each region of the country. The plan focuses on each community and highlights specific pieces of land that could be developed and how they could be developed to take best advantage of the land and have least environmental impact. After developing the Destination Management Plan and successfully preparing tour circuits, the project will meet directly with investors to show them the area and promote investment that is in line with the project brand and values. This will insure investment that is respectful of the environment and local people and traditions.
Preserving the Environment
Pemba Bay Conservancy
During the first phase of the project, a joint team of experts from the US Fish & Wildlife Service, the US National Park Service and Eduardo Mondlane University conducted a rapid assessment of the Pemba Bay in the Cabo Delgado province which identified anthropogenic threats to the Bay and gaps in scientific research. As part of the exercise the potential and need for multiple uses of the Bay, including fisheries, tourism and recreational uses, was assessed and recommendations were developed on an integrated, multi-stakeholder, cooperative, and community driven approach to the management of the Bay. As a result of the findings, focus has been placed on establishing COGEP (Conselho Local de Gestão de Recursos da Baía de Pemba), which will provide participatory management among the major stakeholders that will play a role in monitoring and preserving the bay. In the upcoming years, COGEP plans to establish “Pemba Bay Guards” to identify threats and educate users of the bay about conservation and sustainable management practices. In addition, focus will be placed on leveraging and creating micro-finance opportunities to support new eco-tourism businesses and retraining of fishermen.
Niassa Wildlife Reserve
In the Niassa province the project, in partnership with the World Wildlife Fund, has created a 100,000 hectare Marine Reserve on Lake Niassa and its shoreline to protect its unique fresh water ecosystem including freshwater corals, fish species (more than 90% known to occur only in this Lake) as well as the fishing industry, which is the mainstay of the local economy. A major threat to Lake Niassa is illegal migrant fishermen from Malawi coming to fish in Mozambique as an alternative to their own exhausted fisheries. The lake ecosystem is also threatened by sedimentation from nonsustainable agriculture, as well as timber and firewood harvesting on the catchment slopes. The creation of the Reserve will preserve and protect the flora and fauna of the area and provide employment opportunities through increased tourism, which will reduce the need for harmful farming and fishing practices. The project has heavily involved the local communities in the process of planning and creating the reserve. Project leaders visited twenty coastal villages as well as two communities outside the reserve to discuss the project and get input and ideas regarding its creation. The communities worked to identify 15 different sites that will be developed for community-based tourism projects. To support this effort and the creation of the Reserve, 24 community rangers were trained at the Gorongosa Wildlife College to help monitor the reserve and act as guides for tourists who come to the area. In addition, the communities worked together to provide legal enforcement for the Reserve through a joint community Naval patrol boat.