Zanzibar: Fragile tourist paradise

TANZANIA (eTN) – With hostile politics dominating every corner and everyday life on the tourist island of Zanzibar, citizens from the island and mainland Tanzania commemorated on Thursday, the death of Abeid Amani Karume, the first President of Zanzibar.

The late Abeid Karume was assassinated on April 7, 1972, the day which Tanzania has adopted as a public holiday to respect the first President of the island who ended the 500 years of Omani sultanate in Zanzibar.

But, as many citizens on this island flocked to mosques and other prayer houses to pray for the late leader, hostile politics remain a big problem facing the islanders as the ongoing hostility between the ruling CCM party and the main opposition CUF is boiling up, threatening the future of the island’s attractions.

Other than tourist treasures, Zanzibar is the leading producer of different, aromatic spices, some of which are sold to tourists or used in Zanzibar cuisine and products.

Zanzibar’s recognition for spices has become part and parcel of the island’s identity which earned it the name “The Spice Island.”

Tourism has been one of the most profitable industries for the island, attracting hundreds of thousands of tourists who flock to its pristine beaches, warm Indian Ocean water, and historical and cultural sites.

Diverse marine life sees thousands of tourists arriving to the archipelago every year.

Zanzibar has become one of the most popular holiday destinations that has attracted a number of high-class tourist hotels, lodges, and bed and breakfasts establishments, as well as hostels and guesthouses which provide accommodation to tourists of all income levels.

Tourism has provided employment for many people on the island who are carrying out boat trips, spice tours, and forest trips. Snorkeling and diving are organized for tourists by specialized sea-sports companies.

Kizimkazi village is the most popular area in East Africa, well known by its dolphin population. Bottle-nose dolphins can be seen in the shallow coastal waters around Kizimkazi in Mnemba Bay Conservation Area. They are often seen at Kizimkazi year round, while a lucky holidaymaker can as well sight humpback whales. It is only Zanzibar where these big creatures could be spotted while migrating along the Indian Ocean coastline to southern Africa.