Interdependency between conservation, utilization and benefit sharing has been established from the onset of the Coutada 5 project. The commercial activities that will take place on the Coutada should pave and pay the way for the conservation of the biodiversity resources, whilst at the same time being totally dependent on maintaining (or establishing in certain respects) a healthy environment and the goodwill and support of the local communities. The commercial development of Coutada 5 may impact in a number of ways on the environment on which it depends. Tourism and tourism-related activities are thus inseparable from the biodiversity resources.

The general primary and secondary objectives for sustainable ecotourism development in the Coutada can be summarized as follows:

“The primary objective of sustainable ecotourism development is to develop ecotourism facilities and activities within the Coutada that are both sensitive to a biodiversity-rich ecosystem and beneficial to the conservation of the ecosystem, as well as forming a basis for financial self-sustainability. A secondary objective is to assist in ensuring that the rapidly expanding ecotourism developments in the northern areas of Mozambique are also environmentally sustainable.”

More specifically, the tourism development objectives can be defined as follows: firstly to develop a biodiversity friendly strategic tourism development plan which will establish a set of principles, frameworks and mechanisms on which the ecotourism development will be based, and secondly to review tourism-based current and prospective community benefit-sharing and make recommendations for its maximization.

The Sustainable Tourism Development Program is based on four modules: Module 1 entails a 9-step sustainable tourism development plan, module 2 highlights possible regional institutional tourism developments, module 3 provides for codes of practice and module 4 designs an interpretation program.

The project will contribute to the general economy of the region in various ways. Tourism will create opportunities during the construction phase of facilities, and during the operational phase (primarily employment opportunities, but also a variety of entrepreneurial possibilities). Furthermore, obligated payments to the Community Trust Fund will be available for distribution. The establishment of the wildlife-based industry in the core wildlife-wilderness block will create a host of advantages, financial and otherwise, to the local project-affected people.