President Armando Guebuza of Mozambique has become the latest head of state to join the World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) and World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) sponsored Global Leaders for Tourism Campaign.
“We support tourism as an area of major importance in our agenda to fight poverty,” said Guebuza.
The President was speaking after joining the UNWTO/WTTC Global Leaders for Tourism Campaign.
“Given its impact in terms of jobs and income and considering its multiplier effects in other areas of the economy, tourism has proven to be a sector of high relevance in the socio-economic development of our country,” continued Guebuza.
President Guebuza received an Open Letter from UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai, and World Travel &Tourism Council president, David Scowsill, highlighting the role of tourism as one of the most effective solutions to a series of global challenges.
During his official visit to Mozambique, Rifai also met prime minister Aires Ali, who reiterated the government’s commitment to tourism.
“We are fully committed to the development of tourism in Mozambique, as the Government has recognised the sector as strategic for the overall development of the country,” he said.
“Mozambique has unique resources to advance tourism and make of it a real driver to improve the lives of its people.
“Moreover, it has the political will to do so.
Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, president of Indonesia, pledged his support to the scheme last month.
WTTC president, David Scowsill, said: “The tourism potential of Mozambique speaks for itself, with 2,700km of tropical coastline, a variety of ecological systems that are rich in species and a rich historic cultural heritage but most significantly, the Mozambican Government has recognised the opportunities for economic growth and job creation through tourism.
“The total contribution of tourism to Mozambique’s GDP, including its wider economic impacts, is forecast to rise by 6.4 per cent each year over the next ten years.
“By 2021 the sector will support over 700,000 jobs in Mozambique,” he added.
With over two million international tourist arrivals in 2010, Mozambique is becoming one of the most important destinations in Sub-Saharan Africa.
International tourism revenues of US$1 billion represent nine per cent of Mozambique’s total exports.