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Tourism is growing fast in Mozambique and has become the most dynamic sector in the economy of the country. The main tourist attractions are the beautiful beaches and the diversity of the marine life along the coast. The marine “Big 5”: Humpback whales, Manta rays, Whale sharks, Dolphins and Sea Turtles are a common sight and contribute to the popularity of Mozambique amongst divers.
AMAR, the national Divers’ Association of Mozambique, was founded as a non-profit association in 2006 by a group of dedicated volunteers in Inhambane. In its aim towards the conservation and protection of marine resources and the sustainable development of dive tourism in Mozambique, AMAR represents the interests of the recreational dive operators and contributes towards the implementation of best practices. AMAR is recognized in this position and invited to all official dialogue between the dive operators and provincial and national authorities.
AMAR’s mission is to work within the current national and provincial legislative framework to ensure the conservation and protection of marine resources via the following interventions:
The heart of AMAR’s strategy is to create partnerships with the provincial and local authorities, the local communities and associations, as well as the actors of the tourism- and diving industry. AMAR is creating links of communication and exchange between all the stakeholders.
AMAR is a member of the Confederation of Business Associations of Mozambique (CTA) tourism committee.
AMAR is in the process of developing a services package for its members that is tailored around translation and mediation support, as well as guidelines for the daily operations of dive businesses.
AMAR receives support from the German Cooperation in the form of an Integrated CIM expert.
In collaboration with the dive centres AMAR has started preparations for the implementation of this program –a first in Mozambique, though it is a practice in other tropical dive destinations worldwide.
The objective is to monitor dive-site reefs for size and the presence of marine species, in order to establish a regularly updated base of information that reflects their dynamics of growth or decline.
AMAR aims to create protection through education and awareness; workshops are hosted in the various local communities with the objective to increase knowledge amongst the local population about the environment, as well as the tourism industry.
Local people have very little if no chance to participate in most tourist activities.
Dia do Mergulho (Diving day) is a traditional event organized by the dive operators, corporate members of AMAR, with the aim to create awareness about the value of marine resources and sustainable practices with the local communities.
Ocean safaris –an activity that is normally accessible only to paying tourists- are made available to the local population at a symbolic cost, or through tickets that are raffled off amongst the students. The purpose is to let participants witness first-hand the beauty of marine animals in their natural environment.
The event has lots of side-activities that are themed around sustainable dive tourism and conservation of the coastal environment.
Dia do Mergulho 2012 was really the revival of the emblematic event that characterizes AMAR; its first rendition took place in 2005 and the event has been gaining popularity in Inhambane ever.