Zanzibar hotel employees now beg govt intervention

30Jun 2020
Correspondent
Zanzibar
The Guardian
Zanzibar hotel employees now beg govt intervention

​​​​​​​DESPITE the government’s decision to ease conditions that were imposed to curb the spreading of Covid-19, some hotel employees in Zanzibar have appealed to the government to help them go back to their respective jobs.

Speaking to this paper they said that most of the employers sent them home for leave without pay immediately after the virus outbreak was reported in the Isles.

An hotelier, Wahid Khamis called on the ministry of labour to order their employers to recall them back to office so that they continue earning income.

“We have been told that Zanzibar is free from the novel coronavirus, but our employers have not recalled us back to work. We are living in difficult conditions as we have been earning nothing for three months,” he said.

Director of the Zanzibar Youth Forum, Maulid Suleiman urged the government to assist youth especially those who were working in the tourism sector.

He said youth working in the tourism sector have been largely affected by the pandemic outbreak due to job loss contributed by decreased number of visitors.

The tourism sector has hardly hit the Covid-19 outbreak, workers have been retrenched with food suppliers staying without doing business for almost four months, he said.

Suleiman noted that although the government has opened doors for tourists to come to Zanzibar, there are still few visitors coming as some countries still have a good number of Covid-19 patients.

ArchBishop of the Mkunazini Anglican church in Zanzibar, Dr Michael Hafidh said they are well prepared to start receiving tourists interested to visit the worship house which was closed since March this year.

Bishop Hafidh stated that more than 20 youth have lost jobs due to the church closure. He said they worked as tour guides showing tourists different areas of the church which is located at Mkunazini in Unguja.

Dr Abdalla Mohamed Juma, Executive Secretary of the Zanzibar Tourism Commission said that Zanzibar has opened its skies to allow chartered flights to come directly to Unguja.

“We expect tourism activities to return to normal, this may take time because some European countries are still battling the disease,” said Dr Juma.

Early this month, the government in Zanzibar announced reopening of tourism activities after they were shut down on March 20 following the outbreak of Covid-19.

Zanzibar’s Minister of Information, Tourism and Heritage, Mahmoud Thabit Kombo said that all travelers to Zanzibar should hold medical health insurance and they should follow strict guidelines on prevention of Covid-19 imposed by Zanzibar health authorities.

He said arriving travelers will undergo screening at entry points and those found with symptoms will be sent to a designated isolation center for further tests.

On March 20, Zanzibar announced the shutting down of all tourist hotels and a ban on all tourist flights as protective measures against the Covid-19 pandemic.

Tourism is Zanzibar’s largest economic sector and essential for local socioeconomic stability.