Mozambique’s flagship airline carrier, Linhas Aéreas de Moçambique (LAM), is cementing its regional reach with the re-launching of two new routes to the country’s major tourist destinations of Vilankulo (Inhambane province) and Beira (Sofala province).
“We are marking this resumption of flights with the strong aim of bringing to Vilankulo people eager to have contact with the wonders of this land”, João Carlos Pó Jorge, LAM’s Director General, said on Sunday after the inaugural flight from Johannesburg (South Africa) to Vilankulo.
In April this year, LAM was commissioned by new management to revitalize it. This is the international team led by South Africa-based Fly Modern Ark, appointed by the government within the framework of revitalizing the image of LAM.
The South African team was presented to the current LAM managers, and the parties will work together for six months or a year to put the carrier afloat.
So introducing new regional routes is part of the equation to revitalize the company. Since then, the company has embarked on reducing by 30% its fares and recently introduced new routes, like Maputo-Harare and Maputo-Lusaka, in Zambia.
So, on Sunday, it relaunched Joburg-bound flights to Vilankulo and Beira. Vilankulo, with its pristine water beaches, is the major tourist destination in Mozambique. Beira is a gateway to the famous Gorongosa National Park, which boasts fauna and flora.
Mozambique Tourism and Culture Minister Eldevina Materula, who officiated the re-launching of the Johannesburg-Vilankulo-Johannesburg flight, said the act is, without a doubt, of such importance for the industry as it has been expected for a long time by the private sector, tourists and the general public.
Vilankulo is a tourist destination of international choice, and it’s the mission of the Mozambican government to make it increasingly better served, in terms of access and, in this case, through air connections, as well as to open up more and more business opportunities, that can benefit the Mozambican economy and improve the quality of life of its citizens.
“The resumption of flights on this route makes Vilankulo one of the main gateways for international tourists to our beautiful Mozambique, remembering that over 75% of tourists visiting Mozambique come from South Africa”, she added.
She added that the Province of Inhambane is currently the main leisure destination in the country:
“The return of LAM on this route is more than correct, given its relevance in the value chain for the consolidation and promotion of national tourism, as their intervention opens up better perspectives for the involvement and stimulation of more Mozambican players in tourism”.
LAM will fly this route on Sundays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
In 2022, the tourism sector produced revenue of around two hundred and fifty billion Meticais, representing an increase of 81.2% compared to the previous year, 2021.
In the same year, 2022, the Province of Inhambane received one hundred and ninety and seven thousand and fifty-four tourists against one hundred and ninety-two thousand and four hundred and eighty-five tourists in the previous year, representing 22.4% of the total number of tourists that the country received in the period in question.
“These numbers are clear signs of the revitalization of the tourism sector, after the shock it suffered with the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the implementation of the Economic Acceleration Measures Package”, affirmed the minister.
In December 2022, the Electronic Visa (e-Visa) was introduced and on May 1 of this year, the visa exemption measure for citizens of 29 countries.
Similarly, the average granting of Investment visas for longer periods to foreign citizens holding investments in Mozambique was revised, the transformation of the Simple Tourist Visa of short duration into a Mixed Visa for Tourism and Business.
In this context, in the first six months of the implementation of the e-Visa, more than 28 thousand visas were requested via the electronic platform, with 49% for tourists and 48% for business and the remaining 3% for sporting and cultural activities, crew transfers, and investments.
As for the visa exemption measure, since its introduction, more than 13 thousand foreign citizens of different nationalities have visited Mozambique, with more than 10 thousand for tourism purposes and the remaining three thousand for business.
“This is a clear sign that the measures taken by the Government are having an effect in boosting our sector”, Materula said.