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Travel industry likes new visa system Travel industry likes new visa system

Investors Lusa spoke to in Maputo on Thursday considered the change introduced in the tourism and business visa regime in Mozambique to be “extraordinary”, believing that the innovations will create “benefits” for the business and economic environment in the country.

Among the novelties, Mozambique’s authorities are testing electronic visas, which can be obtained via the Internet (as is the case in other countries), to facilitate the entry of tourists and businessmen into the country.

“It’s an extraordinary change”, said Quessanias Matsombe, a hotel industry operator in Mozambique and former association leader in the sector.

The increase in the length of the tourist visa from 30 to 90 days and the fact that it is now mixed, giving the possibility of doing business, “is very good”, he stressed.

Another far-reaching innovation, he continued, is the introduction of electronic visas, as it will allow any foreigner to apply for entry into Mozambique from anywhere in the world, even if there is no embassy or consulate in the African country nearby.

“The online visa would be the solution” when entering Mozambique, he said, adding that this model ensures more direct income for the state coffers.”The person will deal with the system, with the platform, they will not have a relationship with any person and can even pay usng a credit card”, he pointed out.

The money goes directly into state coffers, and there is no room for “refreshment”, the word used by public officials to demand bribes.

That businessman in the hotel sector said that innovations must be accompanied by changes in the behaviour of state employees. Because tourists and foreign investors are “an asset” for the country’s economy and not a source of illicit income, he said.

Noor Momade, president of the Association of Travel Agents and Tour Operators of Mozambique (Avitum), said that the changes in the visa regime and stay of foreigners in the country are “an important lever” for tourism and business since they will “speed up” the flow of foreigners and investors.

“We were behind many countries in attracting tourists and investors, but with these important advances, barriers to the entry of people who are welcome in Mozambique were removed because of the added value they bring”, he added.

He said that the ease of granting visas and the permanence of foreigners is a comparative advantage for countries that intend to boost tourism and foreign investment.

“The first assessment that a tourist or investor makes to decide whether or not to go to a country is the visa regime and stay in the territory”, he highlighted.

Alison Briggs, senior manager at Grindrod, a South African group that participates in the management of the port of Maputo, also believes that the new visa regime will bring “enormous benefits”.

The visa policy changes are part of the 20 measures announced in August by Mozambique’s president under the Economic Acceleration Stimulus Package (PAE).