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.