The East3Route initiative originally formed part of the Lubombo Spatial Development initiative, collectively conceived by the Governments of South Africa, Mozambique and Swaziland as far back as 1998, with a view to, in particular, promoting eco-tourism development capitalising on the region’s exciting topographical landmarks and emphasising the existing blend of cultural and historical heritage.
During the course of Tourism Indaba, held in May 2011, the KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Government’s MEC for Economic Development and Tourism in KwaZulu-Natal, Mr Michael Mabuyakhulu, met in
Durban with both Mozambique’s Minister of Tourism and Swaziland’s Minister of Tourism and Environmental Affairs.
During that watershed meeting the parties agreed on the need for three-country co-operation regarding issues relating to tourism. They further agreed to a second meeting, scheduled for 05 September 2011 in Maputo, Mozambique
In view of the 2011 Tourism Month theme ‘Tourism Linking Cultures’, it was decided that 2011’s Tourism Month celebration and activation should involve a cross-border country excursion, linking South Africa (Province of KwaZulu-Natal Province) with Mozambique and Swaziland. Accordingly, on
26 September 2011, a tripartite economic and tourism development initiative, featuring KwaZulu-Natal, Mozambique and Swaziland, brought into being the East3Route.
The focal point of this three-way initiative was to provide both tourists and investors an opportunity to explore offerings within this unique triple setting. In presenting a proposal to his counterparts in Mozambique and Swaziland, Mr Mabuyakhulu highlighted three key objectives.
1.1 Objectives for co-operation
2. The 2012 Expedition
In October 2012 KwaZulu-Natal’s MEC for Economic Development and Tourism, Mr Michael Mabuyakhulu, Mozambique’s Minister for Tourism, Mr F Sumbana (Jnr) and Swaziland’s Minister for Tourism and Environmental Affairs, Mr Mduduzi Dlamini, led a second cross-border tourism excursion. The expedition comprised 200 delegates and provided the opportunity for all three countries to engage in an Investment Seminar, which took place in Maputo, Mozambique on 17 October.
This high-level seminar was addressed by the Honourable Mr Aires Ali, Prime Minister of Mozambique, Mr Carvalho Muaria, Minister of Tourism in Mozambique, Mr Michael Mabuyakhulu, KwaZulu-Natal’s MEC for Economic Development and Tourism and Mr Mduduzi Dlamini, Minister of Tourism and Environmental Affairs in Swaziland. Local Government leaders and many captains of the industry, drawn from the respective regions, also participated in the Investment Seminar.
This second excursion commenced in Swaziland with arrival of delegates on 14 October, with the formal proceedings getting underway on 15 October. Participants left Swaziland on 16 October and headed for Mozambique and the scheduled Investment Seminar, which was held on 17 October, before departing on 18 October for KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. The East3Route excursion was concluded on 20 October in the province’s uMkhanyakude District.
The excursion employed the use of 50 4x4 vehicles, each branded with both East3Route and Europcar logos), supplied by transport partner, Europcar. This epic safari allowed for the comprehensive inspection of potential tourism attractions within the three countries and also included other activities, such as the planting of trees in response to the green emissions campaign.
Recorded delegate attendance on this excursion was as follows: South Africa (KwaZulu-Natal) 100, Mozambique 50 and Swaziland 50. Delegates were made up of journalists (print, radio and TV), trade, business and industry leaders and potential investors. Local artists in each country provided entertainment and cultural performances.
2.1 Overall Programme
Commenced on 15 October 2012 in Swaziland to 20 October 2012 with two nights spent at each destination;
2.2 Swaziland Leg: 14 – 16 October 2012
The E3R 2013 Excursion began in Swaziland where participants were accommodated over two nights within Manzini and Ezulwini areas. E3R participants stayed for duration of two nights in Swaziland with accommodation provided in different locations for each night i.e. Manzini (The George Hotel/ Esibayeni Lodge) and Ezulwini (Royal Swazi Sun/ Lugogo Sun/ Sibane Hotel). The movement to different locations allowed participants to appreciate the Swaziland accommodation offering. On the other hand, Hon. Ministers and their immediate guests were accommodated in Ezulwini (The Royal Villas) on both nights for ease. Sufficient and suitable accommodation within a reasonable proximity to confirmed activities of the excursion was secured for the 200 E3R delegates.
The E3R excursion involved hosting of a welcome cocktail, two luncheons and a Gala Dinner. During each meal, additional Swaziland Tourism stakeholders were invited to interact with E3R guests. The most prominent of these was the Gala dinner where His Excellency the Right Honourable Prime Minister Dr Sibusiso B Dlamini was the evening’s guest speaker. The event was also graced by Cabinet Ministers, Members of both Houses of Parliament, Principal Secretaries, STA Board and Staff, the tourism industry and the media.
During the course of the day tour, participants engaged in various activities which included historical/ cultural visits, local production of curios and game viewing amongst others. Highlights of the Swaziland excursion were the attendance of His Excellency the Right Honourable Prime Minister Sibusiso Barnabas Dlamini at the Gala Dinner and the presentations of indigenous plants by E3R Tourism Ministers to the management of King Sobhuza II Memorial, Mantenga Cultural Village, and House on Fire, Swazi Secrets and Hlane Royal National Park.
Appropriate arrangements were made with Border officials (Department of Immigration, Swaziland Revenue Authority – Customs) and Swaziland Royal Police to allow for seamless entry and departure of participants as well as escorting the entire E3R convoy travel within the country.
2.3 Mozambique leg 16 – 18 October 2012
The program in Mozambique, began with the welcome reception offered to all delegation within the fortress of Maputo, where also were present, the Fisheries Minister in representation of the Tourism Minister, the Deputy Minister of Justice and Deputy Minister of education. Delegates were accommodated at Polana Hotel, Afrim Hotel, Hotel Cardoso, VIP Grand Hotel, Hotel Turismo, Hotel Siprous, and Hotel Ushaka.
The activities of the expedition to Mozambique, were focused on the Investment Conference, which took place on 17 October; the planting of Canhu trees (Amarula) in the Primary School of Chiango; visit the main sights of the city of Maputo, as well as the Interpretation Centre and Monument of the city of Matola. The Joaquim Chissano Conference Centre hosted in trick of the day 17 investment Conference of the three member countries of the East3Route initiative, inter alia, Swaziland, Mozambique and South Africa, and was attended by Minister of industry and trade of Mozambique represent the SEXA the Prime Minister, the Governor of the city of Maputo, President of the Tax Authority, as well as the Minister of Agriculture of Swaziland on behalf of the Minister of industry and trade. After the speeches of welcome and opening of the Conference given by Madam Governor of Maputo city, Lucilia Hama and by His Excellency the Minister of industry and trade Armando Inroga, followed the presentations of the investment opportunities of the individual countries.
The Investment Conference ended with a press conference open to all participants in which the tourism and Agriculture Ministers of Swaziland and tourism of the province of KwaZulu-Natal, as well as the Chairman of the Board of Directors of INATUR, considerations were investment opportunities in each of the countries and the importance of these investments will have on the development of the East3Route route.
In parallel the Investment Conference, exhibition of the tourist potential of the three countries in the Joaquim Chissano Conference Centre. In this event were made available to various marketing and promotional materials, crafts and typical products of Mozambique.
One of the activities of the second expedition in common in the three countries was the planting of the Canhu tree (Amarula) considered emblematic in East3Route initiative, by the fact that the same have a cultural value of extreme importance in the three regions. So the first planting took place in Chiango elementary school and the second in the vicinity of the Monument and the interpretation centre and library in honour of the victims of Apartheid of Matola.
It should be noted that the Act of planting trees was attended by Tourism Ministers from the three regions, as well as the Deputy Minister of education of Mozambique. However, the Minister of tourism of the province of KwaZulu-Natal, in his speech addressed to the students of the primary school of Chiango, referred to the need for more plants, as well as school infrastructures. However, volunteered to provide support for improving the school, through various South African companies operating in Mozambique. Similarly, undertook to raise and later send 500 pairs of shoes and school uniform for students.
Participants in the expedition had the opportunity to visit some tourist landmarks in the city of Maputo, such as workers ' square (railways), Central market, iron House, and Cathedral building, Museum of Natural history, St. Anthony Church of Polana and handicraft. A visit to the monument and centre of Interpretation (interpretation centre and library in honour of the victims of Apartheid) of Matola.
The last shipment activity in Mozambique was to visit the interpretation centre and library in honour of the victims of Apartheid in the city of Matola. The Act was attended by South Africa's High Commissioner in Mozambique. It should be noted that this monument is in memory of 16 South Africans and a citizen of Portuguese nationality murdered by the forces of the apartheid regime, in a RAID on their homes in the city of Matola.
2.4 INVESTMENT SEMINAR REPORT
The East 3 Route is a cross-border initiative between Mozambique, Swaziland and the Province of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa. This tourism promotion initiative was spearheaded by KZN MEC for Economic Development and Tourism in 2011. It aims to foster improved trade and tourism relations among the three countries and also to position them as one region in the eyes of both domestic and international tourists.
The initiative comprised of a 6 day engagement (14 -17 October 2012) that included a two-day programme of activities in each country.
2.4.2 Investment Seminar
In order to increase the attractiveness of the East 3 Route as a tourist attraction, it is important that the tourism infrastructure, products and services are continuously improved to appeal to tourists. One of the planned activities of the East 3 Route was a one day Investment Seminar held in Maputo, Mozambique on the 17 of October 2012. The following were the main objectives of this seminar:
The three governments involved to recognise and encourage individual and companies that have invested in the their respective countries;
2.4.3 Planning and Organisation
As the main host, Investment Promotion Centre (CPI), an investment promotion agency of Mozambique, was mainly responsible for organizing the logistics assisted by Trade and Investment KZN (TIKZN) and Swaziland Investment Promotions Authority (SIPA).
TIKZN and SIPA were tasked to invite at least 50 businesses from their respective countries and CPI as the host was to invite at least 100 participants. The focus was more on businesses, private and institutional investors who have interest in tourism investment such as hotels, game reserves and the rest of hospitality industry. TIKZN extended invitations to the following groups:
Institutional investors such Pension Investment Fund (PIC) and Old Mutual,
Over and above personal invitations, the Seminar was advertised in the print media and placed on the websites of all three Investment Promotion Agencies. Few entities were also invited to exhibit themselves during the Seminar.
2.4.4 Presentations and discussion
The Seminar was held at Joaquim Chissano International Conference Centre and was facilitators by SAFM’s Richard Nwamba who is fluent both in English and Portuguese. The Seminar, attended by more than 150 delegates, was addressed by Ministers from Swaziland and KwaZulu Natal and permanent secretary of tourism in Mozambique. The main agenda involved PowerPoint and DVD presentations by each of the Investment Promotion Agencies.
SIPA’s presentation focussed on the agriculture and tourism sectors. There are a lot of investment opportunities within these sectors. The travel and tourism industry in Swaziland is very much integrated with the industry in neighbouring South Africa, especially KZN. Their main market is international tourists, some coming from KwaZulu-Natal, which has made the Golela Border Post one of the busiest. Because of a very strong Swazi culture they also enjoy a large number of tourists from the UK and Europe. The booming property market around Mbabane and Manzini were highlighted as the most attractive investment opportunity. Swaziland offers various investment incentives. The main reasons to invest in Swaziland include:
TIKZN focussed on the provincial growth and development strategy, tourism master plan and a number investment projects in the tourism sector. KwaZulu Natal Tourism Plan has identified a need to increase accommodation along the Indian Ocean in the form of beach resorts. A number of projects have been packaged in this respect such as Nonoti, Blythedale and Sovereign Sands. The fact that KZN is the second biggest province in South Africa in terms of economic contribution and main logistic hub given its two harbours position the Province well as the gateway to South Africa and the rest of the continent. South Africa continues to invest a lot of money in improving all infrastructure such as rail, harbour, airports and road. Most of investment incentives are administered at the national level by the department of trade and industry.
Mozambique presented a number of investment opportunities in agriculture, fisheries, minerals and tourism. CPI highlighted that there is a shortage of accommodation facilities in Maputo, especially when there are events such as conferences and sports. Southern Sun is one of the South African hotel brands that is visible in the city. Most of the hotels are fully booked during weekends and main events in the city. There was also mentioning of mining and port and marine opportunities in the north of Maputo. Issues with irregular border controls are being addressed. Lack of property connectivity with the Kosi Bay part of KZN is posing a big challenge in terms of people and goods transportation. CPI presented its investment incentives in great details highlighting the industrial free zone regime, tax credit per investment, generic fiscal and custom benefits.
2.4.5 The Outcome of the Seminar
2.5 KwaZulu-Natal leg 18 – 20 October 2012
On the 18th of October 2012, we departed for South Africa via Ponto d’Ouro. The roads to South Africa are in very poor condition and can only be negotiated with a reliable 4x4 vehicle. The signage is also not very good. However, the route was extremely scenic. The group arrived in KwaZulu-Natal through the Farazela Border post near Kosi Bay and drove to the uTshwayelo Lodge and Camp for picnic lunch. UTshwayelo Lodge and Camp is situated at Kosi Bay Nature Reserve and the estuary entrance gate is 2, 5 km from the beach. It offers en suite chalets and camp sites and is easily accessible by motor car. It is 5km from the KosiBay/Mozambique border post, it takes its name from the fish kraal celebrating the traditions and culture of the Tsonga people – a community partnership project of skills sharing and a life of purpose.
The Kosi Bay Nature Reserve lies on the coast in the northern part of KwaZulu-Natal and surrounds the unique and beautiful Kosi Bay lake system. This system consists of four lakes and a series of inter connecting channels, which eventually drain via a sandy estuary into the Indian Ocean. It is home to a large variety of birds and animals including hippos and crocodiles. Humpback whales can be seen off the beaches on their northerly migration to calve in Mozambique and in December and January loggerhead and leatherback turtles come onto the beaches to lay their eggs in carefully prepared nests.
The camp was started by the local community in 1992 using grants from lotto and KZN Tourism. The Lodge is currently run and managed by Ken Whitfield and Enock Tembe in association with Chief Tembe and the community elected committee. The Whitfield Trust has a long term management lease and has done major renovations to the Lodge. The Lodge and all improvements are owned by the community. The lodge provides an income to the community in the form of rental, profit share and job opportunities. Local reeds, grass mats and other handmade articles are used for building materials.
After a delicious lunch the group drove to Jozini via Manguzi. The Jozini Dam, which covers 16 000 hectares and is the third largest in South Africa, 30 km long and up to 7 km wide (excluding the gorge leading to the dam wall). It was originally built in 1970. It is an essential lifeline for the area it serves, supporting a large population of fish, crocodiles and hippos, as well as the people of the area. The location offers a number of other nearby attractions to visitors.
Upon arrival guests were welcomed and allocated room keys for establishments in and around Jozini and Mkhuze booked as:
Guests had dinner (Braai) and entertainment at Tiger Lodge (Boma Night), entertained by Local Artist Zakes Bantwini and DJ Muntu. On the 20th of October, after a Morning Live session with SABC and a morning boat cruise for the VIPs breakfast was served at Jozini Tiger Lodge and thereafter guests departed for the Nyalazi Gate of the Hluhluwe Imfolozi Park (HIP).
The Hluhluwe Umfolozi Park is the only park under formal conservation in KwaZulu-Natal where the Big Five occur. Established in 1895, this is the oldest game park in South Africa along with nearby St Lucia Reserve. Set in the heart of Zululand this is the oldest game reserve in Africa, where Zulu kings such as Dingiswayo and Shaka hunted and put in place the first conservation laws. Today, Africa's 'Big Five' (lion, elephant, leopard, buffalo and rhinoceros) stalk the flourishing savannah. Game viewing is the principal attraction in the Hluhluwe Umfolozi Game Reserve. Viewing hides overlook pans and waterholes enabling one to observe the wildlife at close range.
The day was spent in the Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Game Reserve and some guests were very lucky to spot 4 of “The Big 5”. Guests were most impressed with the standard of the lunch in the marquee “In the middle of the bush” as it was fit for a king! After lunch guests visited the Arts and Crafts Centre as well as the Game Capture Boma and did a Game drive to Hill Top camp. Part of the programme was for the VIP’s to do helicopter flights to showcase potential investment sites in the iSimangaliso Wetlands Park, Ndumo-Tembe-Futhi Elephant Park and Usuthu Gorge. The iSimangaliso Wetland Park was listed as South Africa’s first World Heritage Site in December 1999 in recognition of its superlative natural beauty and unique global values. The 332 000 hectare Park contains three major lake systems, eight interlinking ecosystems, 700 year old fishing traditions, most of South Africa’s remaining swamp forests, Africa’s largest estuarine system, 526 bird species and 25 000 year-old coastal dunes – among the highest in the world. The name iSimangaliso means miracle and wonder, which aptly describes this unique place.
The proposed Tembe-Futhi Conservation Area (TFCA) links conservation and resource-use areas in Mozambique, South Africa and Swaziland. In South Africa these include Tembe Elephant Park and Ndumo Game Reserve, as well as the Tshanini and Usuthu Gorge Community Conservation Areas. Plans are also underway to incorporate areas to the east and west of Tembe Elephant Park through partnership with local communities. This has the potential of merging Tembe Elephant Park with Ndumo Game reserve. In Mozambique the project focuses on the Maputo Special Reserve (Reserve Especial de Maputo) and the Futi Corridor, a swamp system that links the Reserve with Tembe Elephant Park. This TFCA will unite an ancient elephant population that used to move freely between Mozambique and South Africa and will enhance the efficiency of biodiversity conservation in a region with high levels of endemicity. The Usuthu area in Swaziland was recently included, thereby making this a trilateral TFCA.
After the programme in HIP guests drove back to Jozini where some went on a Sunset Boat Cruise, where after a formal gala dinner and entertainment by Zakes Bantwini was held at the Jozini Tiger Lodge. The following morning the MEC together with his counterparts from Swaziland and Mozambique held a media briefing after breakfast and checking out guests departed to their respective countries.
2.6.1 Vehicle Allocation
A total fifty (50) vehicles were allocated for the expedition. The South African/KZN delegation was allocated twenty (22) vehicles while Swaziland got thirteen (13) and Mozambique allocated fifteen (15). A tourism authority representative from each country was responsible for the delivery of the vehicles. All vehicles from each country were numbered and had their respective country’s flag at the back of each vehicle. Swaziland was numbered 1-15, Mozambique 16-30 and South Africa 31-50. This was done in order that the vehicles from each country could be easily identified. Combinations of different vehicle brands from Europcar were used.
Number of Vehicles allocated
South Africa (KZN)
Kia Spotage (replacement)
2.6.2 Challenges Experienced with the Vehicles
2.6.3 Driver Allocation
Europcar allocated the vehicles according to the driver’s licences and passports received. Twenty drivers were assigned from the South African delegation. They included officials from the different entities, namely the Department of Economic Development and Tourism, Tourism KwaZulu-Natal, and Trade and Investment KZN, as well as tour operators and district municipalities.
2.6.4 Driver Challenges
2.6.5 Vehicle Fuel Processes
Petty cash was made available to cover the fuel costs during the expedition. On return to South Africa, an agreement was made with the Engen Mkhuze petrol station. This led to better management in terms of the re-fuelling of vehicles.
2.6.7 Vehicles Returns
South Africa and Mozambique vehicles were all returned to the Europcar Durban branch and we had to request South African delegates to drive back the cars that were assigned for Mozambique. The return of vehicle could be managed better by prior appointment of drivers.
As part of profiling the East 3 Route excursion, branding material in the form of telescopic, pull - up banners and wall banners were procured. The quantity procured was enough to cover most venues that were used and are stored for future use by DEDT. This year we may not have to produce much, except if there are new partners/sponsors that might want to come on board, the stage branding at the main will need to be changed but not in its entirety for example, as opposed to buying complete wall banner with frames, we buy the panels which obviously come cheaper. This will also enable us to be able to differentiate the years the event took place especially for our record keeping and archiving purposes.
2.7.1 Branding management
Although there were no formal engagements on how branding was going to be managed, the idea of having partners handling branding in their own territories worked fairly well but we do need a central point where all brand items are going to stored and managed so that we make sure that they are properly kept and maintained and we minimize chances of them being damaged and or getting lost. The issue of distances between venues can pose threats when dealing with branding for this programme and this is primarily because of the limitations in terms of numbers of officials (responsible for branding) who attend the event. This was mostly prevalent in KZN where some venues were more than 100 km apart and it was a challenge moving branding from one venue to the other. In essence the branding team should be amongst those who leave earlier so that when the rest of the delegation arrives, the venues are branded and we are able to choose strategic points for maximum visibility.
It is recommended that a dedicated branding team is put in place with representatives from all the partner organizations which will deal with branding for the duration of the event and the hosting country having to lead. This will then assist in addressing issues of manpower shortage and distances apart because then we are able to deploy ourselves according to the number of venues. Since transport is sometimes a challenge – where you are carrying passengers and you have to be the first one to arrive at a venue and the last one to leave whilst you are also having passengers who need to be part of the convoy. A dedicated transport for this service might be an option. We may as well consider using two way radios to complement our communication during these events (possibly the planning team) as cell phones can cause their own frustrations sometimes besides being costly.
Branding is one critical area that needs to be well managed to ensure visibility and contribute towards promoting a good image of the East3Route programme and to improve the profile requires that there is budget that is set aside for this exercise on a yearly basis even if it means attracting more sponsors/partners as was the case with Europcar.
2.9 EAST3ROUTE EXECUTION PLAN
In 2012 arrangements by the E3R technical team were to source a service provider that would be responsible for the management of the entire excursion. However, due to unforeseen circumstances the team was not able to commission a service provider thus resulting in countries having to manage their own part of the activities. Tourism Authorities from all three countries were tasked with management of events and activities within their countries and the appointment of service providers where required.
Appointment of service provider
· The three countries were able to stage a successful event even though the service provider was not appointment.
Total number of delegates expected was 200, KZN had 100, Swaziland and Mozambique had to share the remaining 100 amongst them.
At least 50% of delegates to consist of trade and media. Each country to identify key delegates in this regard.
The excursion ran over 7 days with 2 nights spent in each country. Commenced in Swaziland on 15 October proceeded to Mozambique and ended in KZN on 20 October 2012. During the 7 days delegates engaged in various tourism and investment activities.
Medical Support and Disaster Management
Medical Support came from South Africa and travelled throughout the expedition.
Disaster Management was on standby to assist as and when required.
Delegates accommodation in Swaziland, Mozambique
In 2012 E3R partnered with Europcar South Africa who provided the excursion with 50 4x4 vehicles. Of this figure, a total of 13 E3R/ Europcar branded vehicles were allocated to Swaziland. KwaZulu-Natal had 22 cars, Mozambique had 15 cars.
Each country hosted a gala dinner as a networking platform accommodating an additional 100 local prominent delegates.
At least two local entertainment groups from each country participated.
Media and Communication
Over 15 media agencies participated throughout the excursion from print and electronic.
Poor coordination of media.
Procure EAST3ROUTE branding
Movement of branding from one point to the next.
Investment Seminar was hosted in Mozambique on 17 October 2012.
Green Emission Activities
Two activities around the theme were identified as tree planting and donation of bicycles. The purpose was to offset carbon emission, which was in line with the 2012 Tourism Month theme.
The budget for the expedition was allocated by KZN Provincial Government (DEDT).