India a potential source market for Zanzibar
Rituparna Chatterjee – Mumbai
The increase in disposal income and a surge in outbound travel, among others are now pushing Zanzibar Commission for Tourism to focus on India as a potential source market. Zanzibar, a semi-autonomous part of Tanzania in East Africa, receives a large number of international travellers from markets like Europe, Scandinavia, Russia and East Africa, and India presently contributes a small fraction to the numbers. Out of the 300,000 international visitors Zanzibar receives on a yearly basis, Indians constitute around 3000-4000. To grow these numbers from India, the Zanzibar Commission for Tourism recently opened a Zanzibar Tourism Promotion Centre (ZTPC) in Mumbai to organise workshops and roadshows for creating awareness among the travel trade about the destination and its offerings. Zanzibar will be promoted among all segment of travellers such as leisure, MICE and corporates including as a Bollywood shooting destination. Speaking on this, Said Ali Mbarouk, minister of information, culture, tourism and sports, Government of Zanzibar stated, “We need support from TAAI, TAFI, the Indian film fraternity, airlines and the Indian government to penetrate into this market. India is a potential source market for Zanzibar. We would like to strengthen our relation with India and would invite them to participate in the Zanzibar International Film Festival.” During the launch of ZTPC, government officials from Zanzibar and representatives of TAAI and TAFI signed an MoU to work towards promoting the destination in India.
Efforts are also being taken by the Zanzibar Commission for Tourism to improve air connectivity to the destination. Recently, the commission held discussions with government officials from the Centre and representatives from the Indian Merchants’ Chamber (IMC) for starting direct flights from Mumbai to Zanzibar. Presently, there are no direct flights from India to Zanzibar. Around six to seven international airlines such as Oman Air, Ethiopian Airlines, etc, connect Zanzibar from Addis Ababa, Dubai among others. “Mumbai is a hub for corporate and MICE travellers and hence we have proposed for direct connectivity between Mumbai and Zanzibar. We are also open to inviting airlines to visit Zanzibar and experience the destination themselves and are requesting for the deployment of charter flights as well,” opined Issa Mlingoti, deputy principal secretary, ministry of information, culture, tourism and sports, Government of Zanzibar.