Investments in tourism in Mozambique slumped by 24.3 per cent in 2008, the first decline after several years of growth.
According to data from the Ministry of Tourism, US$739.9 million dollars was invested in tourism projects in 2008, down from US$977.2 million.
The National Director of Planning and Cooperation in the Ministry, Dina Ribeiro, told the Mozambique News Agency (AIM) that this reduction was due to the delay in the Mozambican parliament approving a law amending the Tax Benefits Code.
Tourism is one of the sectors favoured by the changes in the code, which were only approved in December.
Ribeiro admitted, however, that the international financial crisis may also have played a role in slowing down the flow of investment to tourism. However, she said the tax benefits were the main cause of the slump.
“We think that the reduction in tourism investments has to do with the fact that the investors were anxious to see the approval of the Fiscal Benefits Code, which they knew the government had been working on,” she said. “The information we have indicates that the investors were waiting for the code to be approved.” With the parliamentary approval of the code, Ribeiro said 2009 would be a better year for Mozambique in terms of attracting tourism investment.
“We’re optimistic, and we think that this year the investment figures will rise, although the economic crisis may have some impact on reducing investment.”
Ribeiro stressed that the holding of the football World Cup in South Africain 2010 could prove an incentive for attracting investment to Mozambican tourism.
In 2008, she added, 265 tourism projects were submitted, and the government approved 237 of them.
There were actually more projects in 2008 than 2007, although the sum of money invested was smaller. In 2007, 133 projects were approved out of 171 proposals..