Zanzibar has announced plans to attract international tourists through a host of annual tourism exhibitions, cultural festivals and foreign investment promotions.
President Ali Mohammed Shein has said that the government is seeking ways to boost tourism earnings following the downturn in clove prices on the world market.
The annual exhibitions will follow on from the inaugural Zanzibar Tourism Show, which took place last week and saw patronage from over 150 tourism companies.
Through this and other initiatives, Shein’s target is to increase the number of tourists to Zanzibar from 376 000 to 500 000 by the end of this year. The government will be marketing tourism to attract hotel and service investments in the island, while attracting tourists to spend more days in Zanzibar – known for its beach and marine tourism.
To this end, the island aims to develop its marine-based economy, to capitalise on the rich resources from the Indian Ocean. It will also be focusing on the conservation of key historical sites such as Stone Town and the multitude of beaches.
Zanzibar currently has 473 hotels with around 8 721 rooms, with an additional 5 000 rooms being needed to cater for the growing number of tourists to the island.
The island’s economy depends primarily on tourism and international trade, with cruise shipping being another source of income to Zanzibar due to its geographical position and proximity to the Indian Ocean ports of Durban (South Africa), Beira (Mozambique) and Mombasa (Kenya).