The Zanzibar government is courting international hotel investors to capture the island’s fast-growing tourism industry, looking to raise the number of leisure and business tourists visiting the island in Tanzania. International hotel chains have established their business in the island since the past 2 years, making the island among the leading hotel investment areas in East Africa.
The Indian Ocean semi-autonomous island had attracted big and international hotel chains to invest there looking to develop marine tourism. Madinat El Bahr Hotel and RIU Hotels and Resorts have opened their business on the island between July and August of this year after Hotel Verde entered the island late last year.
The Zanzibar President, Dr. Ali Mohammed Shein, said that Zanzibar stands a better position to share tourism benefits with the rest of East Africa through its pristine beaches and rich Indian Ocean resources. He said that his government is now looking to attract more investors in hotel services and tourism with fresh hopes to make this Indian Ocean island a competitive market in East Africa.
The island had attracted big and international hotel chains to invest there looking to develop marine tourism. In its recent plans, the island is working in partnership with Comoro to encourage business on the East Coast of the Indian Ocean.
Zanzibar launched last year, the annual tourism shows targeting to promote its tourism and the rest of Africa sharing the Indian Ocean waters. The Zanzibar Tourism Show will be taking place in September each year as the island targets to attract more than 650,000 visitors next year.
Zanzibar Minister for Information, Tourism and Heritage, Mahmoud Thabit Kombo, said earlier that the island had launched its tourism marketing platform in July of this year, aiming to attract more tourists to its Indian Ocean beaches, as well as cultural and historical sites.
He said that the Destination Marketing Brand targets to involve various tourist companies operating in Zanzibar, aiming at bringing them together to market Zanzibar tourism under an umbrella of “Destination Zanzibar” focusing on the island’s tourist attractions and services provided to the tourists.
“We had launched the Destination Marketing that will be an umbrella body to market our tourist products under a single roof as to pull more tourists to visit Zanzibar,” Mr. Kombo said. The minister further said that tourist companies on the island have been marketing their own services, mostly the international hotels which have been selling themselves more than products available in the island.
Destination Marketing Brand is so far targeting international tourist markets across the world, looking to attract more visitors to the island. Marketing initiatives including the promotion of cultural festivals aiming to attract international visitors. Under the tourism marketing plans, Zanzibar is also looking to increase average length of stay from 8 to 10 days. The plan also targets to achieve its objectives to pull more tourists to stay longer on the island through marketing campaigns across the world that would attract visitors to visit new tourist attractive areas in the Island which had once not marketing at a full force.
Zanzibar is also looking to compete with other East African destinations including Kenya by marketing itself as a Conference Tourism Destination, attracting foreign and international hotel investors and better airline connectivity with other East African countries. Major Gulf carriers like Emirates, flydubai, Qatar Airways, Oman Air and Etihad, all of whom fly frequently to Tanzania, have become catalysts for changing the tourism landscape.
With a population of about one million people, Zanzibar’s economy depends mostly on Indian Ocean resources – mostly tourism and international trade. Cruise shipping tourism is the other source of tourist income to Zanzibar due to the Island’s geographical position with its proximity in the Indian Ocean island ports of Durban (South Africa), Beira (Mozambique), and Mombasa on the Kenyan coast.
Competing with other Indian Ocean islands of Seychelles, Reunion, and Mauritius, Zanzibar has at least 6,200 beds in 6 classes of accommodation, the Zanzibar Association of Tourism Investors (ZATI) report said.