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Ibo Island - Cabo Delgado, Mozambique
Many foreign tourists have cancelled reservations for this year end in Mozambique’s northern province of Cabo Delgado due to violence in the area.
On the island of Ibo, located in the Quirimbas archipelago, about 80 kilometers from the provincial capital Pemba, it is possible to enjoy several marine species, to practice diving in crystal clear waters and to fish. Also the scenic beauty and architectural works attract visitors. Throughout its history, the island of Ibo has always been a place tourists enjoyed in all occasions and especially at the end of the year. But the situation this year is different.
Tour operators say the attacks in the far north of the province have caused a significant drop in visitors to the island. Chris Chris, owner of a tourist resort on the island, said: “I’ve been here for four and a half years and tourism was rising. In 2018, we’ve already lost 25% of tourism in Ibo due to the attacks on the continent. In June and July, we had 300 canceled bookings.”
Population affected by breakage
Jörg Salzer, a German citizen who has been managing a hotel on the island for more than 10 years, does not hide his discontentment of the situation either.
“In the previous years, there was a lot of tourist movement, but we know that attacks are happening, although much more on the Palma side. The news from there and elsewhere is bad and negatively influences our business,” says Salzer.
The situation affects all islanders dependent on tourism, especially in the artisanal trade.
Atija Bacar is a store manager who sells handicraft pieces.
“Here we sell clothing, straw necklace, hose leaf necklace, matope necklace, bags, rings and mat. But this year, the movement is very weak, there are no customers,” Bacar told DW Africa, noting the negative implications on income.
Police reinforces security measures
Tourism authorities in Cabo Delgado say the sector’s performance this year has risen by two per cent compared to 2017.
But Iolanda Nilza Almeida, the provincial director of Culture and Tourism, points out that this is not a significant increase.
“Last year, we had 212,852 overnight stays and this year we had more – 216,425. It is true that we had more national tourists, but the entrances of the foreign tourists have retreated a lot,” said Iolanda.
DW Africa told the local police about security measures in the province, mainly in the tourist places like Ibo Island.
Augusto Guta, a spokesman for the Provincial Police Command in Cabo Delgado described the situation as calm and controlled.
“We are reinforced in human and material resources and we will be doing patrols, using all the means that we have in these tourist places and in all the extension of the province of Cabo Delgado,” Guta said.
Identity of burglars to clarify
People and tourists interviewed by DW Africa consider the island a safe place, a feeling that is shared by tour operators such as Jörg Salzer.”
There has never been anything bad or violence in Ibo, nor on the way here, and nothing has ever happened in Pemba. This specific zone is very safe, there are no security problems here,” said Salzer.
The attacks of unknown armed groups in the northern districts of Cabo Delgado began in October 2017. During the presentation of his Report on the General State of the Nation, Mozambican President, Filipe Nyusi, tied the trend to banditry and promised measures to neutralise the “evildoers”.Source: DW