Zanzibar is targeting to record 500,000 tourist visits by 2020, President Ali Mohamed Shein said on Monday.
“Everyone has a role in promoting tourism, our leading foreign currency earner,” said Dr Shein in his speech when opening of one-day seminar on ‘Tourism for All,’ , which was attended by religious leaders. President Shein said 80 per cent of foreign income is from tourism and that over 70 per cent of the Zanzibar adults are directly or indirectly employed in the tourism industry.
“We need views to promote tourism. We can promote tourism while safeguarding our culture, norms, and religious principles,” Dr Shein said. He said that tourism remains vital for Zanzibar should it need to get out of economical difficulties at individual and national level.
“The government is determined to spare no efforts in improving tourism.” According to the director of Zanzibar Tourism Commission, Mr Ali Halil Mirza, tourism contributes over 27 per cent of GDP annually. “It is also a leading sector in investment projects,” he said adding that Zanzibar was also promoting domestic tourism, and eco-tourism.
Mr Mirza said that his office was focusing on promoting sustainable tourism by preserving Zanzibar culture, as Dr Amina Mohamed, director of national museum, made a presentation about the importance of conserving culture and history as main attractions for tourists.
Mr Emmanuel Masoud from Anglican Church said at the seminar that it was important to ask visitors particularly tourists to respect the culture of the islanders. But Mr Farid Hadi Ahmad from the Muslim Imam Association and main figure in the UAMSHO group said even security officers had a great role in keeping peace and stability. “It is unacceptable for police to beat unarmed people,” he said.