Zanzibar, one of Africa’s top tourist destinations will host a major tourism summit next year to exhibit available investment opportunities in the sector and to promote its tourism attractions.
The announcement was made recently by the Zanzibar Tourism Investment Association (ZATIA) which has partnered with Arusha-based event organizers, Kilifair.
Known as the ‘Z – Summit 2023’, the exhibition will be held early next year (February 23-24) next year. The summit is expected to attract investors from across the world along with key sector stakeholders.
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In his press address, ZATIA Chairperson Rahim Mohamed Bhaloo was confident that the summit will achieve its objectives of promoting Zanzibar as Africa’s top tourist destination.
“The festival also focuses on finding new markets to increase the number of tourists and strengthen the tourist markets from various countries around the world,” explained Mr Bhaloo.
The summit is an important aspect in growing Zanzibar’s economy because even though the island boasts of being one of Africa’s top tourist destinations, tourism contributes 27 per cent to the island’s GDP and authorities believe it can do better.
By attracting investors to the island for the development of the hospitality industry, then the island can earn the title of Africa’s top tourist destination. The island authorities would like to see more modern hotels built and other tourist attractions come to life as a result of the summit.
Already some ten countries have applied to participate at the event that is scheduled to be hosted at the Golden Tulip hotel.
In his comments, Kilifair Senior Director Mr Dominic Shoo said Zanzibar deserves to be Africa’s top tourist destination and that the summit will go a long way in promoting this fact.
“The festival is of its kind and will be held for the first time in the Zanzibar island, where businesspersons will be linked to various opportunities to build relationships with stakeholders inside and outside of Zanzibar,” he said.
Zanzibar: Earning its place as Africa’s top tourist destination
Government records show that tourist arrivals in Zanzibar slid down slightly to 42,443 visitors in January 2022 compared to a high of 49,868 visitors in January 2021 and 48,167 visitors in December 2021.
Notably, tourists from Europe continue to dominate the market as they account for 83.0 per cent of the total number of visitors who went to Zanzibar this past January 2022. Here are the percentages per country; Poland dominated the outcome, with a high of 15.4 per cent of all visitors that entered Zanzibar as of January 2022.
Despite the war back home, next in line to visit Zanzibar tourist attractions were tourists from Ukraine who accounted for 13.1 per cent of all tourists that went to Zanzibar as of January. Zanzibar tourist attractions are renowned in the world and attract thousands of tourists every year, however, there is need for increased investment in the sector and that is why events like the Z-Summit 2023 are very important.
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Such events help to promote Zanzibar tourist attractions and also to attract investors. This means investors who come to invest directly in the tourism industry, say by building hotels or those who invest in complimentary services like transportation and tour operators.
In this recognition, the government has taken steps to promote Zanzibar tourist attractions and attract investors by creating a business-friendly environment. The President of Zanzibar and Dr. Hussein Mwinyi, recently announced several policy measures to promote Zanzibar tourist attractions including easing work visa requirements.
In this respect, speaking during the close of the 1st EAC Regional Tourism Expo last year in Arusha,, President Mwinyi emphasized partnerships to promote tourism across the East Africa Community (EAC).
“Partner States should continuously refine national policies and devise new programmes to deliver responsible, inclusive and sustainable tourism products that will attract more visitors from all over the world,” he said.
“It is immensely gratifying to know that the EAC Regional Tourism EXPO will play a vital role in engaging all the governments of member states of our Community and the private sector in setting the vision and direction for tourism development in the region,” noted President Mwinyi.
The president also pointed out that an East African Legislative Assembly Report on tourists’ arrival in East Africa has urged concerted efforts by Partner States of the EAC if the regional trading bloc is to increase its global market share in the tourism industry.
“The report depicts that before the outbreak of COVID – 19, the EAC market share for tourist arrival In East Africa was only 8.6 per cent of the African Market share and 0.3 per cent of the global share,” the president pointed out.
Such low figures are the reason why promotional events like the Z-Summit 2023 are vital to promoting Zanzibar tourist attractions.
Seconding the president, Tanzania’s Minister of Natural Resources and Tourism, Dr. Pindi Chana said Zanzibar tourist attractions and Tanzania tourist attractions, in general, are unmatched the world over.
The minister insists that even though the Tanzania tourist attractions are renowned, there is still a need to promote them by hosting and attending tourism and investment events around the world.
The minister also said if Tanzania’s tourist attractions are to attract investors, then there is a need to market the sector and increase investment in its promotion. The minister also urged the private sector to take part in promoting Tanzania’s tourist attractions, saying the task cannot be left to the government alone.
That EXPO attracted more than 100 Exhibitors from all around the world and another 41 international buyers hailing from some 19 countries, notably Israel, Poland, Italy, Netherlands, Sweden, Kuwait, Finland, Ukraine, Qatar, Bulgaria, Ethiopia, Egypt, Ghana, Rwanda, Botswana, South Africa, Nigeria, Zambia and Uganda.
The Z-Summit organisers hope the event will go a long way in attracting investment for the tourism sector in Tanzania and promote both Zanzibar tourist attractions on the one hand and Tanzania tourist attractions in general.
The tourism sector is one of the country’s major foreign exchange earners, and before it was overtaken by gold recently, tourism was Tanzania’s major foreign exchange earner by far.