Management at most of the 19 lodges questioned said 2013 was the “best year ever”, a Sapa correspondent reported.
“We had the best year ever on bookings at Kaya Kwere. We did have a lot of e-mails and calls with concerns, but once we reassured people that Ponta was safe and we are far away from the unrest areas, people came and enjoyed their holidays as usual,” said manager of Kaya Kwere resort, Helena Ribeiro.
The 19 resorts are spread along the Mozambique coast from Vilanculos to Ponta d’Ouro.
“Holidaymakers that arrived were very happy that they carried on regardless,” noted Louis van Niekerk of Laguna Camp.
Susana Vidal, of Sol Resorts in Inhambane, said: “It’s our belief the political problems impacted visitors from Zimbabwe. Travellers from SA and Europe maintained their confidence in travelling. Over the New Year period all our properties were full.”
Guest comments ranged from “where exactly is there supposed to be a problem?” to “happy that they’d continued their plans” and “felt safer in Mozambique than in South Africa”.
Several other resorts reported that the spaces opened up by few cancellations were filled.
“They were snapped up by a waiting list of eager travellers,” said Barra Resort’s Tony Birkholtz. Scott Kemp, from Coco Rico resort in Ponta d’Ouro, stated that they did not have one cancellation and everyone who visited enjoyed their stay.
However, other lodges said their bookings were down. Natalie Robinson from Coco Cabanas in Ponta d’Ouro said they recorded a higher occupancy rate in 2012.
“I feel that the media has most definitely dampened Mozambique’s tourism,” said Robinson.
Jacqui Wessels said bookings at Mango Bay were “overall bad, 30 percent down on last year and we had three groups cancel”.
She said that corrupt Mozambican police on the roads also contributed to fewer bookings.
For some lodges, the future already looks good. Bruce Hopwood from Tartaruga Maritima Luxury Tented Camp near Ponta Malongane said: “The bookings for 2014 are as stable as ever. Weddings are being planned and we are already fully booked for the next New Year.”