Zanzibar is looking at tourism as the leading foreign revenue source, as the number of foreign tourists visiting the island has been growing in the past years.
Zanzibar Tourism Commission Director Ali Mizra said tourism is currently the Island’s leading source of foreign revenue and contributes up to 70 percent of export value in foreign income.
Mizra said the number of tourists visiting the archipelago has been growing at 9.6% annually which is attributed to improved infrastructure including a modernized airport, roads and friendly environment.
Tourism is the fast growing economic sector in Zanzibar. Competing with other Indian Ocean Islands of Seychelles, Reunion and Mauritius, Zanzibar received about 200,000 tourists last year.
Last year Zanzibar Island recorded 175,067 foreign visitors, surpassing a projection of 160,000 tourists.
European economic crisis had affected Zanzibar’s tourism, but new strategies to woo Chinese, Indians and other tourists from emerging markets of the Far East would keep the Island’s tourism afloat.
The Isle’s government has taken various steps to boost tourism through renovation of runways of the Zanzibar Airport and modernization of tourist hotel environment.
Zanzibar boasts of 20 five-star hotels out of 263 hotels established on the beach sites and the historic Stone Town.
The Island has been a target for high-class tourists, competing closely with Seychelles, Mauritius and Maldives.
Rich cultures and old Arabic architecture pull thousands of tourists to the Island each year, bringing balanced competition with other coastal towns along the Indian Ocean.