Coronavirus Africa update: Zanzibar permits tourism, under strict conditions

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As the rest of the country shuts down all entry ports, heavily reliant on tourism, the spice Isles of Zanzibar are allowing charter flights to land but with strict conditions.

Isles authorities have permitted charter flights bringing tourists to the island to land but on condition that all persons on board enter a 14 days quarantine stay, at their own expense.

This surprising turn of events happens in the backdrop of ongoing global threat of the spread of coronavirus. Even leading sports leagues have been cancelled and regional high profile meetings are been held on conference calls.

Across Africa, the tourism industry has come to an almost complete shutdown. It is time immemorial since a disease stopped people from touring and going for holidays, at least not since the deadly World War I and II power viruses.

With most all African countries eventually succumbing to the threat and finally closing their borders, the sector has been brought to its knees with no sign of relief anytime soon.

Coronavirus shakes economies, world forced to change perspective on Africa

The case for Tanzania

Only a week ago, survey results showed the continued negative effects of the coronavirus (COVID-19) with Tanzania tour operators reporting bookings are down 75 percent. With it’s borders shut, tourism has come to a grinding halt.

The Union Republic has shut its borders, both Mainland Tanzania and the Revolutionary Government of Zanzibar have banned all tourist flights as a precautionary measure against the deadly COVID-19.

Take Zanzibar for instance, an island that relies on tourism with up to 27 percent of its GDP been generated by tour operations, the deadly corona virus has absolutely killed its tourism industry.

In fact for the Isles, 80 percent of all foreign revenue comes from tourism and the sector provides the highest number of employment. The Isle’s Minister of Information, Tourism, and Antiquities told press at the start of the week that owing to the coronavirus threat, tourism in Zanzibar is down more than 95 percent.

 

You can still travel to Zanzibar

Local media quotes the Isle’s Acting Health Minister, Mahmoud Thabit Kombo announcing the exception. The high government official said tourist charter flights will be permitted to enter the country on condition that the tourists shoulder the cost burden of a 14 days quarantine period.

In another development, both the Isles and the Mainland have closed all schools and universities for a period of 30 days pending developments of the corona threat.

Large gatherings have also been discouraged with Zanzibar shutting its famous Darajani Street night market.

COVID-19 in East Africa: Why Tanzania remains undeterred

Giza Mdoe is an experienced journalist with 10 plus years. He's been a Creative Director on various brand awareness campaigns and a former Copy Editor for some of Tanzania's leading newspapers. He's a graduate with a BA in Journalism from the University of San Jose.

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