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Tuesday 2 January 2024

Mozambique has designs on reviving mass tourism

Once upon a time - a lifetime ago - Lourenco Marques was one of the hottest tourism destinations in Africa.

South Africans, particularly, flooded to the capital of Mozambique for sun, surf and piri piri prawns.

LM, as it was universally known, is now Maputo (above). 

And moves are underway to bring mass tourism back to the African nation, some 30 years after the former Portuguese colony was ripped apart by a bloody civil war.

LAM (Linhas Aéreas de Moçambique), the flag carrier of Mozambique, recently launched flights between Maputo and Cape Town, which the airline says is part of its strategy to be a “strong competitor in the region”.

LAM has undergone a recent restructuring process and is currently expanding its routes and connections. Also recently launched was a Maputo-Lisbon flight, which will help bring European tourists to Maputo, South African website Tourism Update reported.

LAM commercial director Firmino Naftal says the three times weekly Maputo to Cape Town flight targets both the leisure and the business segments.

Cristovao Gemo, Consul General of Mozambique in Cape Town, said the launch of the route was more than just a convenient mode of transport, but was a bridge between the two nations, fostering greater cultural exchange, trade and tourism.

“Cape Town, known for its breath-taking landscapes, rich history and warm hospitality, has long been a sought-after destination for travellers from all corners of the globe," he said. 

"On the other hand, Maputo with its pristine beaches, vibrant markets and rich culinary diversity offers an experience that is both enriching and unforgettable.” 

In its bid to grow its regional presence, LAM has established flights between Johannesburg and holiday destinations Inhambane, Vilankulo and Beira, with plans to launch a flight between Johannesburg’s Lanseria Airport and Mozambique’s Xai Xai.

It has also recently launched flights to Lusaka in Zambia with a stop-over in Harare, Zimbabwe.

Naftal also said work was underway to introduce flights to Nairobi, Kenya, and Lilongwe in Malawi.

A new 20,000 sqm cultural centre, built by Chinese contractors, was inaugurated in Maputo late last year.

The Mozambique Ministry of Culture and Tourism has called the Mozambique China Cultural Centre in the grounds of the Eduardo Mondlane University in Maputo, a “key project that will greatly contribute to the development of cultural exhibition and dissemination, as well as to the promotion of cultural creative industries from all over the country and the world”.

The centre boasts a variety of rooms for theatre productions, musical shows and corporate events, including a 1,500-seat auditorium.

Anantara, and Beyond and Radisson Blu are among the high-end international hotel brands operating in Mozambique, along with South Africa's Southern Sun.    

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