Speaking after signing a memorandum of understanding between the two sides, Permanent Secretary at Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, Fatma Mabrouk Khamis and NMB’s Chief of Retail Banking, Filbert Mponzi said the agreement details how the bank and the isles government will cooperate in three specific areas that are key in the boosting of the tourism sector.
“We have agreed to work together in destination marketing and position of Zanzibar’s tourism; in diversifying tourism supply and facilitation of experience as well as in the empowerment of youths and the community,” Khamis said.
She said the deal will directly impact the development of the blue economy because tourism benefits a lot from the isles Indian Ocean resources such as beautiful beaches and islands which also host world class hotels.
In his remarks after signing the agreement, Mponzi said the bank decided to become part of the Spice Islands tourism development because it forms the basis of the blue economy, which is the focus of Zanzibar’s economic development blueprint.
“NMB Bank takes tourism development seriously and this is why we have been designing a number of solutions in an effort to push the sector’s rapid growth,” Mponzi said while adding that the Dar es Salaam based lender also understands that growth of the tourism sector will benefit the isles in a number of ways, including job creation and increased revenue.
Detailing what is contained in the deal, the NMB chief further noted that the bank will also streamline tourism operations by investing in digital channels in order to allow visitors pay the government digitally.
“The bank will distribute point of sale machines at all tourist attraction centres for easy collection of government revenue and allow tourists pay fees and levies directly through their Mastercard, Visa and UnionPay cards,” he noted adding that some 100 PoS are already being deployed to various tourism hotspots on the Isles.
Many more PoS will be distributed across various hotels, restaurants, recreational centres and shops in an effort to ensure that a tourist does not need hard cash while in Zanzibar. Apart from the government, NMB’s digital payments channels have been deployed to members of the Hotel Association Zanzibar (HAZ) and Zanzibar Association of Tour Operators (ZATO).