Tourism contributes 27 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and 83 per cent of the foreign exchange (FOREX).
Advisor of tourism development activities in the Department of Forestry and Non-renewable Natural Resources (DFNNR), Mwinjuma Muharam Saleh said that Zanzibar has a wide range of tourist destinations which are yet to be explored.
“And this is caused by limited information as many people are unaware of what we have in Zanzibar. So, we’re currently placing leaflets in these tourism potential areas to attract tourists, as ways of disseminating information and showing destination of the said attractions,” the official said.
According to him, the campaign involves a number of stakeholders such as tour operators, Zanzibar Commission for Tourism (ZCT) and Tanzania Tourism Board (TTB) in mainland Tanzania.
He cited areas which are key for tourism purposes as Kiwengwa-Pongwe in Unguja North Region and Ngezi forest in Pemba.
Saleh explained Kiwengwa-Pongwe forest reserve has 47 species of attracting birds which includes Fischer’s turaco, Zanzibar sombre, crowned hornbill and white browed.
“The area is also rich in medicinal plants and Mwanamkasi Mchekani caves are also considered as important for luring tourists,” he said.
He also described Ngezi Forest Reserve in Pemba Island as key because it’s a home to Pemba flying fox and unique Pemba Scop owls, nocturnal birds.
Apart from being an important water source of Zanzibar, Masingini Nature Forest Reserve also has space for tourism, “that’s our campaign is to make those tourist products are explored and the forest sector contribute to the tourism sector.”
Zanzibar archipelago has recorded a 15 per cent increase in the number of international tourists to 433,474 in 2017 from 376,242 in 2016.
Zanzibar President Dr Ali Mohamed Shein revealed this when opening of the Zanzibar Tourism Show 2018, which was themed; “Responsible Tourism for a Better and Greener Tomorrow’
“The tourism sector in Zanzibar performs strongly, and the trend is not only positive but also promising. The length of stay for tourists who visit Zanzibar has been increasing steadily, where currently it stands at 8 days compared to 6 days, five years back”, said the President.
According to Dr Shein the increase in a number of international tourists is equivalent to 15 percent.
He added that Zanzibar has been making huge efforts to link the growth of the tourism industry with other sectors through the ‘Tourism for All’ initiatives which was introduced four years ago.