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Diving Tourism in Mozambique: An Opportunity at Risk?

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This article examines divers' perspectives and demographics in Tofo Beach, Inhambane. It discusses the urgent need for good management. Analysis is based on data collected from 530 semistructured questionnaires for divers and participatory observation during field research from April to December 2008. For 74% of respondents, the diving component was a key incentive to visit Mozambique. Most of the divers in Tofo are experienced and particularly wish to interact with whale sharks and manta rays. It is suggested that while marine tourism is a potential opportunity for sustainable tourism, it may be at risk due to the lack of management combined with the dependence on just a few marine mega fauna species not yet protected.
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DIVING TOURISM IN MOZAMBIQUE – AN OPPORTUNITY AT
RISK?
Yara Tibiriçá1, Alastair Birtles2, Peter Valentine3 & Dean K. Miller4
James Cook University
1,2 School of Business, James Cook University, Townsville,QLD 4814, Australia
3,4 School of Earth & Environmental Science, Townsville,QLD 4814, Australia
E-mails: yara@responsibledive.org1; alastair.birtles@jcu.edu.au2;
peter.valentine@jcu.edu.au3; seadean@gmail.com4
ABSTRACT
Diving tourism has grown exponentially all around the world. In Mozambique, much
terrestrial wildlife was devastated during the war, which left national parks with little
to attract tourists. On the other hand, the Mozambican Indian Ocean is relatively
unexplored and has a rich biodiversity, including a high abundance of ‘big animals’
such as whale sharks and manta rays that offer great opportunities for the diving
industry. This paper examines divers’ perspectives and demographics in Tofo Beach,
Inhambane. The paper discusses the urgent need for strategic planning and good
management to maintain the attractiveness of the area and avoid loss of biodiversity.
Analysis is based on data collected from 530 semi-structured questionnaires for divers
and participatory observation during field research from April to December 2008.
Divers were classified according to their dive experience level and their motivations
for travelling. The findings show that for 74% of respondents the diving component
was a key incentive to visit Mozambique. Most visiting divers to Tofo are
experienced, and particularly wish to interact with whale sharks and manta rays. It is
suggested that while marine tourism is a potential opportunity for sustainable tourism
in Mozambique, it may be at risk due to the lack of management combined with the
dependence on just a few marine species.
Keywords: diving tourism, Mozambique, marine tourism, sustainable tourism
INTRODUCTION
The purpose of this study is to investigate divers’ demographics and experiences in
Tofo Beach, Inhambane, Mozambique. This paper also discusses how the
characteristics of diving in Tofo may influence the sustainability of the industry in the
long term. This is the first study on diving tourism in Tofo Beach.
Since the signing of the peace agreement in 1992, tourism has increased in
Mozambique. The government has put much effort into developing tourism as a way
to improve the country’s economy (Ministério do Turismo, 2004). It is not the
intention of this paper to discuss the issues related to economic impact of tourism,
but rather to focus on understating a specific tourism sector in a particular area
diving at Tofo Beach. Mozambique terrestrial wildlife was hunted extensively during
the “hungry time of the war. Almost all big terrestrial animals suffered local
extinctions (Ministry for the Coordination of Environmnental Affairs, 1997) and the
Mozambican government needs to invest resources to facilitate the recovery of the
terrestrial wildlife. Terrestrial safaris are unlikely to be very valuable tourism
attractions, at least in short term. On the other hand, the marine environment is still in
good condition and the high concentration of charismatic species such as whale sharks
and manta rays is an indicator that diving tourism might be a very substantial
opportunity for wildlife tourism in Mozambique (Pierce & Marshall, 2008).
The main aim of this paper is to contribute to knowledge of marine tourism in
Mozambique and to provide analysis of divers and their experience.
THE STUDY
Methodology
Study site
The study was conducted in Tofo Beach, Mozambique, which is located around 30km
from Inhambane Town and is one of the main diving destinations in Mozambique
(figure 1).
Figure 1: Location of Tofo Beach and main diving destinations in Mozambique. The only dive areas
that are inside protected areas are: Quirimbas National Park and Bazaruto National Park.
Participant observation
Participant observation (Emerson, 2001) was used to gain in-depth understanding
about tourist experiences and the main problems of dive tourism sustainability. One
author (YT, a native Portuguese speaker) lived in the area from March to December
2008, and participated in public meetings, diver and environmental associations
meetings, tourism experiences, public talks about conservation and community
development and workshops about tourism. Unstructured interviews were carried out
with a range of stakeholders including informants from the civil society (private
sector and community) and government.
Surveys
To assess diver experiences, 530 self-administered questionnaires were collected. The
questionnaires were distributed in all three dive shops in Tofo Beach, from the 22
April 2008 to 3 February 2009. The questionnaire was pre-tested with 34 divers in
Tofo; a number of questions were amended as a result. English was chosen because
most of divers were international travellers.
Questionnaire Structure
A five page questionnaire with 33 questions was used. The questionnaire comprised
the following sections: background, previous history of SCUBA diving, motivation
and expectations of their dive trip and their interaction with the local community. The
questionnaires presented both open-ended and closed questions. Several questions
were designed based on previous studies on wildlife tourism and diving tourism (e.g.
Birtles, Valentine, Curnock, Arnold, & Dunstan, 2002; Davis, Banks, Birtles,
Valentine, & Cuthill, 1997; Miller, 2005).
Sample collection
Two sampling strategies were adopted. Initially, questionnaires were available in
collecting boxes for clients in the diving centres. Before the survey, the researcher
visited and explained the research proposal at all three dive centers operating in Tofo
beach. All of them agreed to cooperate. Assistance was requested from dive centre
staff to encourage divers to complete the questionnaires. However, the results from
this approach were not satisfactory. Although collecting boxes were accessible during
the whole study period in the dive centres, only 8 questionnaires were answered
through this way. Apparently, staff were too busy to hand out the forms. Similar
problems have been experienced by other researchers assessing dive operators in
Mozambique (Pereira, 2003; Sander, 2007).
A second approach was then adopted. The researcher personally handed out the
questionnaires and two volunteer assistants agreed to collect the completed surveys.
One assistant was involved from April to May and a second assistant periodically
from mid-September to the beginning of February.
Due to lack of assistants to distribute the questionnaires, divers were sampled in the
three dive centres based on a ‘convenience sample’. However, all divers in the dive
centre during that time were approached. The number of distributed questionnaires
and returned questionnaires were noted to calculate the response rate.
Data Analysis
Descriptive analysis was used to determine diver demography. The data were
examined for correlation between the dive experience variables and a measure of dive
specialization as well as motivation to visit Mozambique. Spearman’s Rank Order
Correlation tests were conducted. This non-parametric test was adopted because all
variables did not conform to normality, even after applying logarithmic and square
roots transformations (Zar, 2001). Normality of the data was tested by a combination
of histogram, Stem-and-leaf plot, boxplot and skewness and kurtosis statistics
(Coakes, Steed, & Ong, 2009). All statistical analyses were performed on SPSS 16.0
for MAC.
Diving Specialization Groups
Divers were classified into different levels of experience to better understand how dive
experience affects dive perception and motivations to visit Mozambique. Divers
experience levels were classified based on Miller's 2005 Diving and Coral Reef History
(DACRH) Specialization index adapted by the authors. The modifications were
necessary because while the DACRH was focused on coral reef, the Diving Tourist
Specialization Index (DTSI) proposed here is a general approach for dive tourists,
which is more appropriate to the Tofo environment, where coral reefs are not well
developed and a wide range of marine wildlife provide the attraction.
Results
646 surveys were handed out of which 538 were returned; of these 8 were unused
because they were only partially completed. So the response rate was 82%. This
figure cannot be related to the diver population, since the number of divers per year is
unknown. The diver population could not be calculated because dive operators did not
keep registers or preferred to not supply such information.
Most of the respondents who did not return the questionnaires had said that they
were happy to complete it later but failed to return. Only a few respondents declined
to complete the questionnaires for reasons such as they were ‘too busy’, ‘had no
time’ or ‘the questionnaire was too long’.
Demographics
Table 1 describes the divers' profiles and demographics. Of the 530 participants, most
of them (67.9%) were from Europe. Mozambican residents represented only 4.3% of
the sample. Slightly more than half of the divers (56.6%) were male and the age ranged
from 17 to 70 years, with a mean of 34.7 years (SD=9.43). Results show that 84.1%
of visitors were well educated and had completed at least a university degree.
Table 1: SCUBA divers’ demographics
Variable
Frequency
Percent
Variable
Frequency
Country of Residency
Highest level of
education
Europe
359
67.9
Post-graduate
219
South Africa
76
14.4
Graduate
226
Others
28
5.3
Secondary
73
North America
22
4.2
Primary
4
Mozambique
23
4.3
Other
7
Other Africa
21
4.0
Total
529
Total
529
Age categories
Gender
17-20
18
Male
300
56.6
21-30
194
Female
230
43.4
31-40
196
Total
530
41-50
85
51-70
37
Total
530
Previous SCUBA diving history
Over half the respondents (51.5%) had considerable dive experience of more than 50
dives. Divers were mainly certified by PADI (77.2%), followed by CMAS (11.9%)
and a range of other certificate agencies (10.9%). More than half of the respondents
(59.2%) were certified at least five years ago. However, only 23.8% of respondents
had dived more than 20 times in the last twelve months. This shows that divers may
be involved in the activity for many years, but the frequency of diving may differ
significantly. Table 2 includes descriptive information about their previous SCUBA
diving history.
Table 2: Previous diving history
Variable
Frequency
Variable
Frequency
Total of dives
Self- rating of marine
life knowledge
1-10
107
Very basic
98
11-20
54
Basic
153
21-30
52
Average
180
31-40
23
Advanced
85
41-50
21
Very Advanced
13
51-100
70
Own...(yes)
101-300
112
BCD and regulator
229
>300
91
Guide book
197
Total
530
Underwater camera
197
Total
530
Highest SCUBA diving
certification
Dives in last 12
months
Open Water Diver
156
1-10
266
Advanced Diver
217
11-20
102
Rescue Diver
53
21-30
60
Dive Master
64
31-40
30
Instructor
34
41-50
23
Other
6
>100
12
Total
530
Years of diving
Dived in other
countries
0-1
85
No
60
2-4
131
Moz. + 1 country
93
5-10
165
Moz. + 2-4 countries
163
>10
148
Moz. + 5-6 countries
78
Total
529
Moz. + >6 countries
135
Total
529
Diving Specialization Groups
To check if Diving and Coral Reef History (DACRH) Specialization could be adapted
to incorporate the new variables, a series of correlation analyses were carried out. The
results are presented in Table 3, which shows significant positive relationships
between diver experiences categories and all variables analyzed (i.e. total number of
dives, ownership of guide book, dive gear and/or underwater camera, number of
countries dived, level of training and year of certification).
Table 3: Spearman’s rank-order correlations between the level of diver experience and the variables
related
The Experience level is related to...
Correlation coeff icient (r)
Total Number of dives
r (526) = 0.894, p<0.001
Ownership of guide book, dive gear and/or underwater camera
r (526) = 0.761, p<0.001
Number of other countries dived
r (526) = 0.805, p<0.001
The level of certification (training)
r (526) = 0.796, p<0.001
Years of diving
r (526) = 0.796, p<0.001
After verifying that variables were positively correlated, divers were classified
according to Table 4. Over a third (33.8%) of the sample were ‘intermediate divers’,
who are no longer beginners, but have limited experience; 30% were ‘enthusiastic
divers’, who have higher level of certification and more dive travel experiences and
15.4% were specialist divers, who have professional credentials and dived in many
countries. Only about one fifth (20.7%) were ‘beginner divers’, who had started to
dive only recently. There was a positive correlation between divers specialization and
their age (r (526)=0.493, p<0.001).
Table 4: Criterion for the dive specialization categories (adapted from Miller, 2005).
Participation
Beginner
Score
Intermediate
Score
Enthusiasts
Score
Specialists
Score
Years diving
0-1
1
2-4
2
5-10
3
>10
4
Total number
of dives
0-10
1
11-50
2
51-200
3
>200
4
Highest SCUBA
diving
certification
level
Open
Water
1
Advanced
Open Water
2
Rescue
3
Dive
master/
Instructor
4
Number of
other countries
dived
1-2
1
3-4
2
5-6
3
>6
4
Own book
guide, dive gear
and/or
underwater
camera
No for all
1
Yes for 1
2
Yes for 2
3
Yes for all
3
IDTS
5-7
8-12
13-17
18-20
Motivation to visit Mozambique
In an open question, divers were asked why they chose to travel to Mozambique.
Over a quarter (25.1%) answered that they visited Mozambique because of the diving
and other related reasons (e.g. diving and beach), 22% came because of the marine
megafauna (particularly whale sharks and manta rays), 16.5% indicated it was
specifically the diving and 5.9% due to work. Other reasons did not achieve 5% and
included: ‘recommendation’, ‘to visit a friend’, ‘distance from home’ and ‘volunteer
program’. Furthermore, divers were asked to rank from 1 to 5 (not at all – very
important) the importance of diving in their decision to visit Mozambique. Almost
half of respondents (48.5%) confirmed that diving was ‘very important’, 25.3%
ranked it as ‘important’, 11.5% as ‘moderately important’, 5.7% as ‘of little
importance’ and 6% as ‘not at all important’. For those respondents that classify
diving as ‘few and not at all important’, the main motivations to visit Mozambique
were: to work (23%) and to visit a friend (13.1%).
Diving Tourist Specialization Index (DTSI) and motivation to visit Mozambique
Spearman’s Correlation Index showed a positive correlation between the diving
component aspect and DTSI (r (526)= 0.280, p<0.001). Table 5 illustrates the
importance of diving for each IDTS group.
Table 5: Importance of diving to each DTSI group
Importance of diving in the
decision to visit Mozambique
Beginner
Intermediate
Enthusiasts
Specialists
Not at all important
16.5%
5.1%
1.2%
6.1%
Of little importance
9.20%
7.3%
2.5%
5.5%
Moderately important
18.3%
12.3%
7.4%
11.4%
Important
32.1%
12.4%
19.8%
25.3%
Very important
23.9%
27.5%
69.1%
51.7%
Total
100% (n=109)
100% (n=178)
100% (n=158)
100% (n=81)
Participation in other tourism activities
There are some other tourism activities in Tofo, but apart from the ‘Ocean Safari’
divers rarely join those activities. ‘Ocean Safari’ is a snorkeling trip to find and swim
with big animals, particularly whale sharks. Over half of the divers (54.9%) indicated
they had participated or intended to participate in an ‘Ocean Safari’.
Diving Experience
Divers were asked in an open question what were the three best and three worst
things about diving in Tofo Beach. The response rate to the ‘best things’ question was
94.7%, while the response rate to ‘worst things’ was 74.5%. The responses were
content analyzed and coded into 50 codes about ‘best things’ and 66 codes about
‘worst things’. For ‘best things’ 1377 elements were coded and for ‘worst things’ 861
elements were coded. These data reflect that although there are some negative aspects
on diving in Tofo Beach, visitors are likely to find the experience positive.
As expected, the most frequent elements related to best experiences were marine life.
On the other hand, the worst elements about diving in Tofo were associated with
physical characteristics of dive sites, such as visibility and current (Table 6). The top
worst element not related to diving was the accessibility of Tofo, which counted to
24.20% of the total ‘worst elements’ coded for beginners divers 10.3% for
intermediate divers, 6.45% for enthusiastic divers and 8.57% for specialist divers.
Table 6: Worst and best elements of diving experience in Tofo Beach
‘Best things’
‘Worst things’
Elements
N
Valid
Percent
Elements
N
Valid
Percent
Manta rays
213
15.5%
Visibility
127
14.8%
Whale sharks
208
15.1%
Price of dives
65
7.5%
Marine life in general
93
6.8%
Rough sea/ waves
64
7.4%
Diversity of marine life
58
4.2%
Long boat ride
51
5.9%
Dive center in general
49
3.6%
Current
42
4.9%
Whales
47
3.4%
Tofo accessibility
41
4.8%
Few divers
44
3.2%
Water temperature (cold)
37
4.3%
Dive center staff
41
3.0%
Kind of boat
34
3.9%
Visibility
40
2.9%
Too crowded
32
3.7%
Fish (no specified)
37
2.7%
Didn’t see species ‘X’
29
3.4%
Large fish
37
2.7%
Lack of corals
28
3.3%
Dive center service
34
2.5%
Weather condition
26
3.0%
Water temperature (warm)
34
2.5%
Concerns about environment
23
2.7%
Megafauna
33
2.4%
Boat launching procedures
22
2.6%
Weather
32
2.3%
Seasickness
22
2.6%
Atmosphere/relaxed
31
2.3%
Distance from home
19
2.2%
People friendly/nice
31
2.3%
Safety (related to diving)
15
1.7%
*Represents total coded elements, not number of respondents.
Diving Tourist Specialization Index (DTSI) and dive experiences
All elements coded were divided into seven themes: (1) marine life, e.g. diversity and
whale sharks; (2) physical diving, related to physical characteristics of the ocean such
as visibility; (3) other diving elements, e.g. few divers; (4) the dive centre; (5) tourism
issues such as accommodation and quality of restaurants; (6) elements linked to the
local community; and, ‘other elements’ for instance: weather and distance from home.
The DTSI groups and themes were compared to find out the influence of each theme
for divers from beginners to specialists. Table 7 illustrates this analysis. It is
interesting to note that ‘on best experience’ there is a gradual increase in the level of
importance of marine life from beginners to specialists. In contrast, the importance of
dive centers and ph ysical elements decreased from beginners to specialists.
Table 7: Differences in coded elements from ‘best things’ and ‘worst things of diving in Tofo
according to the IDTS groups.
Beginner
Intermediate
Enthusiasts
Specialists
Best
Worst
Best
Worst
Best
Worst
Best
Worst
Marine life
47.7%
5.3%
62.6%
11.3%
67.1%
10.7%
77.7%
12.4%
Dive center
14.7%
24.1%
11.4%
14.8%
9.2%
13.7%
5.8%
17.3%
Other elements
13.5%
12.8%
8.9%
6.0%
9.1%
9.6%
5.3%
6.8%
Physical diving
13.5%
16.5%
7.8%
36.7%
4.5%
37.3%
1.9%
35.8%
Other diving elements
7.5%
14.3%
6.6%
22.3%
7.7%
18.1%
5.8%
17.9%
Local community
3.0%
1.5%
1.6%
1.8%
2.3%
1.9%
1.9%
1.9%
Tourism
0
25.6%
1.0%
7.1%
0.2%
8.9%
1.5%
8.0%
*Percentage represents total coded elements, not numbers of respondents.
Risks to the diving industry sustainability in Tofo Beach
Table 8 illustrates some examples of the risks to the diving industry in Tofo Beach
based on literature review and personal observation during the fieldwork.
Table 8: Summary of some of the risks to the success of diving tourism in Tofo Beach
Climate Change is likely to affect marine life distribution and dynamic of populations (UNEP &
CMS, 2006)
Migratory species, such as whale sharks, manta rays and humpback whales depending on
international agreement to effective protection
Whale sharks populations have declined considerable (Norman, 2000). Fisheries is the main
threat, but the increase of whale shark tourism is also a concern (Norman, 2000; Rowat, 2007).
Manta ray populations declined rapidly where they are targeted for fishing and also caught as
bycatch (Marshall et al., 2006; Zeeberg, Corten, & Graaf, 2006). Asian market has increased
demand for manta ray, raising targeted fishing including in East Africa (Marshall et al., 2006)
International context
Global economic crisis and impacts on international tourism demand
Only 4% of the continental shelf of Mozambique is officially protected (UNEP-WCMC, 2008).
Even these areas are poorly managed due the lack of resources and conflicts with local
communities living inside the areas (personal observation)
Lack of knowledge and management of current fisheries (Southern African Development
Community, 2008).
Manta rays and whale sharks are not protected by national law
Limited knowledge about marine tourism (personal communication, Tourism Ministry, 8/11/08)
Limited assets and capacity to manage marine tourism (Centre for Advanced Training in Rural
Development & Humboldt Univerität zu Berlin, 2003)
National context
High level of poverty, high rate of illiteracy, weak economy based on the importation of
manufactured products and exportation of primary products (Instituto Nacional de Estatística,
2007; República de Moçambique, 2006)
Eventually fishers catch key species for diving (manta rays, sharks and other rays) raising both
environmental concerns (Pierce & Marshall, 2008) and conflicts between dive operators and
local fishermen (personal observation, 30/05/08 & 20/09/08)
Increase on the use of fishing nets instead of fishing lines in the last few years have raised
pressure on the marine ecosystem (J. Gotwalls, personal communication, 09/04/08)
Changes from subsistence use of natural resources to commercialization of natural resources
(community meeting, personal communication, 25/05/2008)
Lack of local protected area and management of tourism and fishing
Lack of local linkage (Jamieson, Goodwin, & Edmunds, 2004) - the vast majority of tourist
establishments are owned by expatriate (including all dive centers), the dependence of imported
products to supply tourism is high and since local community has a very low educational level,
employment is reduced to low income jobs and participation in tourism is poor (Centre for
Advanced Training in Rural Development & Humboldt Univerität zu Berlin, 2003).
Local context
Due the nature of diving (costs and training) local people rarely participate in the activity. For
instance there was just one Mozambican instructor in the whole country (Macuaca, C. personal
communication, 27/02/08). This raises the gap between private sector and local community
affecting mutual understanding. Direct employments are mostly for low skill low salary jobs.
Discussion
Age, gender and educational level of the divers studied here were similar to those of
divers sampled in previous studies (Ditton, Osburn, Baker, & Thailing, 2002; Miller,
2005; Mudet & Ribera, 2001). Not surprisingly, marine life was the most important
component of the diving tourism experience. These results agree with studies
conduced in other parts of the world, such as Spain (Mudet & Ribera, 2001),
Australia (Davis et al., 1997; Miller, 2005) and Thailand (Dearden, Bennett, &
Rollins, 2006). The results also support the idea that more specialized divers rarely
participate in many other activities during their overall trip (Mudet & Ribera, 2001).
The high percentage of specialized divers found shows that the profile of divers in
Tofo Beach is more likely to be similar to the ones normally found on live-aboard dive
boats rather than on day trips. It is likely that remote diving destinations have similar
diver market to live-aboard boats. There are two main reasons why specialized divers
prefer live-aboard boats: the remoteness and the focus on key wildlife (Dearden et al.,
2006). Remoteness is related to the difficulty in accessing a place and may limit the
number of visitors. Access to dive sites near Tofo is relatively easy, but getting to
Tofo can be a bit complicated. Even with the recent improvements to the roads and
flight connections, the local public transport (‘chapa’) is poor and there is no on-line
system to buy flight tickets. The results reveal that accessibility is one of the main
‘worst things’ not related to diving. This is especially true for beginners, which
sustains the idea that more specialized divers are more prepared to travel to remote
areas. This finding has yet to be confirmed since most research to date has been in
diving destinations with easy access (e.g. Barker & Roberts, 2004; Garrod & Gossling,
2008; Rouphael & Inglis, 1995).
Divers’ specialization and implications to the future of diving tourism in Tofo
Specialization level
The diver specialization level is a key factor for diving tourism management (Dearden
et al., 2006; Miller, 2005). The findings show that Tofo Beach is of particular interest
to divers mainly because of the marine life there, especially a small number of iconic
species of marine megafauna. Whale sharks and manta rays were particularly
important for more experienced divers. Whale sharks are not commonly seen while
SCUBA diving, yet these animals are highly valued by divers as part of their overall
tourism experience. Many divers undertake snorkeling trips to swim with these
animals. However, some divers prefer not to go on an ‘Ocean Safari’ because they
hope to swim with whale sharks en route to the dive sites (personal observation).
Visibility in Tofo can vary widely from 30 metres on one day to 5 metres the next day
(personal observation). The best diving sites are generally deep than 20 meters and
current can be unpredictable. Beginner divers were more concerned about such
physical features than specialized divers. This underscores the point that the marine
environment of Tofo would not be suitable for a high percentage of beginner divers.
Recent studies have showing the importance of using Butler’s cycle (Butler, 1980) to
manage diving tourism (Dearden et al., 2006). Over time tourism tends to shift from
specialized tourism to mass tourism in the absence of active management (Duffus &
Dearden, 1990). Therefore, understanding tourism experiences is critical to defining
the limits of acceptable change (LAC) and to ensure that attractiveness is not lost for
specific groups of tourists (McCool & Cole, 1997).
So far there is no management plan from local to national level that takes into account
the diving tourism characteristics in Mozambique. The base document that defines
strategies to tourism management in Mozambique is the ‘National Strategic Plan for
Development of Tourism’. Accord to the plan, diving is a key market for the
Southeast of Mozambique, but it shows that there is no understanding about this
market. For example no mention was made about divers segmentation or actions to
avoid the shift from specialized diving tourism to mass tourism. Controversially, the
plan affirms that diving is “increasingly popular among young people (…). Among
backpacker and regional tourists” (Ministério do Turismo, 2004, p. 44), which differ
from the divers profile found in Tofo Beach. The intention of keep the South
Mozambique as the main destination for regional and domestic market, with
emphasis on sun, sand and sea, family holidays, water sports and entertainment and
fun” (Ministério do Turismo, 2004, p. 55) may be conflicting with the wish to
improve international market based on diving and careful management will be
necessary to avoid loss of such specialized market. In addition, actions from
international level to local level will be necessary to minimize environmental and
socio-economic risks and ensure the sustainability of diving tourism in the long term.
CONCLUSION
Diving tourism based on highly specialized divers is a good opportunity even given
the current stage of tourism development in Mozambique. However, the need for
capacity building and understanding about marine tourism is urgent. In Tofo Beach
tourism management is basically non-existent. The flux of benefits from tourism to the
local communities is still poor, there is no protected area in the region and there is a
lack of understanding about marine tourism from the individual to institutional level.
Such a scenario raises the risk of biodiversity lost and collapse of an industry that is
highly based on specialized divers.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
The authors wish to thank Escola Superior de Hotelaria e Turismo de Inhambane
(ESHTI/UEM), PADI Project AWARE Foundation and Idea Wild Foundation for
support this research. Thanks are also expressed to Adriana Mendes and Jan Lupton
for help in the field. Thanks also go to the dive centres for permission to carry out the
surveys diver.
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