Zanzibar’s tourist arrivals more than doubled last month to 12,157 visitors, heightening prospects of achieving at least half of the annual target of over 500,000 holiday makers.
Prior to the outbreak of the deadly Corona Virus in March, 2020, Zanzibar had projected to surpass her 2019 record tourist arrivals of 538,264.
Unveiling the visitor data for October 2020, Tourism Department Assistant Head in the Office of Chief Government Statistician Zanzibar, Raya Mohammed Mahfoudh said 12,157 tourists visited Zanzibar during the month, a 224 per cent rise from 5,422 visitors in September 2020. The latest monthly arrivals, which bring to 182,922 the total number of visitors for the past 10 months, however compares unfavorably with the 53,023 visitors in the corresponding period last year-October 2019.
Europe emerged the leading market for Zanzibar tourism, accounting for 73.5 per cent of all visitors, with the African continent becoming second with 12.4 per cent during the period under review.
The statistician identified France as the leading country whose nationals visit the isles, with 17.1 per cent of all visitors while Russia came second with 16.1 per cent. Majority of the visitors-10,172 or 83.7 per cent-arrived through air transport while the remaining 1,985 or 6.3 per cent came through water transport.
Most of the visitors in October, with 99.5 per cent of them coming for holiday, expected to stay for an average of seven days, Ms Mahfoudh said in her presentation.
The Indian Ocean’s autonomous archipelago received 6,200 male tourists, consisting 51 per cent of all arrivals, and 5,957 female visitors-49 per cent.
The 15-64 age group dominated, with 90.3 per cent while the under 15 and over 65 accounted for 6.8 and 2.9 per cent, respectively.
Commenting on the data, Zanzibar Commission for Tourism’s (ZCT) Chief Marketing Officer, Amour Mtumwa Ali described the statistics as an indication of the bright future for the tourism sector in Zanzibar.
“If this trend persists, we (Zanzibaris) will definitely attain at least half of our initial 500,000-visitor target,” said the chief marketer with the country’s tourism industry overseer.
State University of Zanzibar (SUZA) Lecturer, Dr Estella Ngoma Hassan termed it unfortunate that “Our major tourism markets are also the hardest hit victims of Covid-19.”
She said the outbreak of Corona virus has crippled the tourism industry five times the global financial crisis did, reducing international arrivals by 440 million and 440 billion US dollar loss in export revenues, globally.
“Tourism demand has dropped drastically … we are now nursing hopes on potential vaccines and reduced restrictions in our major markets,” she said.
Bank of Tanzania’s (BoT) Deputy Economic Manager, Shamy Chamicha expressed hope over the future, saying already tourist trust on Zanzibar as a safe tourist destination is on the rise.