Opening the first and premier Zanzibar Tourism Show, Zanzibar President Dr. Ali Mohammed Shein invited the world-class tourists to visit this Indian Ocean Paradise Island, saying tourists are now spending more days visiting the island’s beaches and other attractions.
The Zanzibar President said on Wednesday when flagging off the show that his government is now committed to developing tourism, aiming to bring this Indian Ocean island to a middle-class economy through tourism over the next 2 years.
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Dr. Shein said amid local and international tourist and travel trade stakeholders attending the show that the island will develop key tourist infrastructure, also attracting more investors to develop services as to make more tourists find better visits.
He said that the number of tourist stays had increased from 6 to 8 days during the past 5 years, adding that conservation of key historical sites of the island’s Stone Town and the Indian Ocean beaches were key priorities of his government.
Flagging a banner of “Responsible Tourism for a Better and Greener Tomorrow,” the first Tourism Show in Zanzibar is intended to raise the living standards of the people and conservation of the island’s ocean resources, Dr. Shein told the event participants.
Tourism accounts for 27 percent of Zanzibar’s GDP and 80 percent of its foreign revenue gains.
The Zanzibar Minister for Information, Tourism and Heritage, Mahmoud Thabit Kombo, said it was projected that the number of tourists visiting the island is projected to surpass 500,000 of its projected figure to touch 526,000 by the end of this year.
“We are confident to exceed the 2020 projection of 500,000 tourists by [the] end of the year,” Mr. Kombo said.
Tourism was growing by 12 percent with an upward growth trend, compared to 8,721 rooms with a need of 5,000 more rooms to cater to the high demand, said the minister.
More than 130 exhibitors are participating in this 3-day event taking place at the Verde Hotel, a new tourist facility opened on the island in recent years.
The Zanzibar Tourism Show joined a generation of tourism business and service gatherings in East Africa, targeting to promote Zanzibar tourism and the rest of Africa sharing the Indian Ocean waters, wildlife, and other safari attractions.
Zanzibar boasts an abundance of flora and fauna. The verdant dynamism of Jozani National Park, the rainforest endemism of Ngezi, and the coastal profusions of endangered mangrove offer a compelling experience to visitors. A variety of birdlife and a large number of butterflies in rural areas make Zanzibar a unique destination in this part of Africa.
A sea safari is the one of the popular activities offering an ideal opportunity to view diverse marine species across the coast of Zanzibar, journeying through the famous Chumbe Island and Mnemba Marine Nature Reserve, cruising close to the Pemba Channel.
The Zanzibar International Film Festival (ZIFF), Mwaka Kogwa, “Sauti ya Busara,” cultural festivals, Mangapwani Festival, and Makunduchi Food Festival are among the events that showcase the best of Zanzibar cultures.
Apart from Stone Town, a World Heritage Site, a collection of buildings have been marked the most cultural and architecturally interesting. These include Maruhubi Palace and the Kizimkazi Mosques. Many of these old buildings demonstrate classic features of the unique architectural and cultural synthesis in the Island.