Zanzibar’s international visitors arrivals increased by 51.2% last year amid threat posed by COVID-19 pandemic.

Latest statistics released by the Office of Chief Government Statistician (OCGS),show there were 394,185 foreign visitors compared to 260,644 international arrival in 2020.

According to OCGS arrival through Abeid Amani Karume International were 348,868 or 88.5% of total arrivals while 45,317 tourists entered through Malindi Seaport.

Russia was Zanzibar’s leading market posting the highest number of tourist arrivals,17.9 percent of total arrivals during the reviewed period.

According to the figures, February, January and December recorded the highest number with 51,574,49,868 and 48,167 tourist arrivals respectively.

The report shows that male tourists led the graph of stay on the islands where they spent a total of 233,585 nights at the average of eight nights per tourist while female spent 198,676 nights at the average of nine nights per a tourist.

“We need to be more active to ensure the sector is vibrant and live in the past glory but manifests itself for the future,” said Rashid Ali, a tourism key player.

Zanzibar is now shifting from mass to quality tourism targeting wealthy visitors.

In 2019,Zanzibar received 538,264 tourists who brought a total of $426 Million in foreign exchange.

Tourism accounts for 82.1 percent of Foreign Direct Investment(FDI) in Zanzibar where an average of ten new hotels are being built each year at an average cost of $30 Million each.

According to the Hotel Association of Zanzibar(HAZ) data, the amount that each tourist spends in the isles has also increased from an average of $80 per day in 2015 to $206 in 2020.

The government has decided to lease some islets to wealthy individuals in an effort to reform the tourism sector. The strategic tourism has seen 10 islets already leased out, generating $15 Million.

Tourism largely involves spending time away from home in pursuit of recreation, relaxation, and pleasure, while making use of the commercial provision of services.

As such, tourism is a product of modern social arrangements, beginning in Western Europe in the 17th century.

Modern tourism is an increasingly intensive, commercially organized, business-oriented set of activities whose roots can be found in the industrial and postindustrial West.

Tourism became even bigger business internationally in the latter half of the 20th century as air travel   was progressively deregulated and decoupled from “flag carriers” (national airlines).

The airborne package tour to sunny coastal destinations became the basis of an enormous annual migration from northern Europe to the Mediterranean before extending to a growing variety of long-haul destinations, including Asian markets in the Pacific, and eventually bringing post communist Russians and eastern Europeans to the Mediterranean.

Tourism is a crucial factor for a lot of economies and a main source of revenue for most countries around the world. Remarkable growth has been recorded in the tourism industry since 2017.

According to a report released by the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), International tourist arrivals worldwide increased by 7 percent in 2017. This result was the highest since a consistent percentage of around 4 percent was being recorded since 2010. In the first nine months of 2018, International tourist arrivals grew 5 percent year-on-year.

A big-picture overview of the state of international tourism in 2017, the report trumpeted the increase in International tourism arrivals, which grew by 7 per cent over the figure for 2016.

That’s the highest annual increase since the economic crisis of 2009-10.

As well as showing the number of International arrivals for each country, the report also list the income derived from international tourism, and there are some surprises in the mix.

International tourism contributes USD 1,340 billion to the world economy. The biggest share of that ends up in the pockets of Europe, with 39 per cent of the total. Not too surprising since Europe also accounts for 52 per cent of the total number of international visitors.

Worldwide, tourism industry contributed USD 8.9 Trillion to GDP in 2019, equal to 10.3% of total global GDP. On the other hand, a total of 330 million jobs are supported by this industry around the world.

Worldwide, 44 countries rely on the travel and tourism industry for more than 15% of their total share of employment.

Unsurprisingly, many of these countries are island nations.  At the same time, data reveals the extent to which certain larger nations rely on tourism.

In New Zealand, for example, 479,000 jobs are generated by the travel and tourism industry, while in Cambodia tourism contributes to 2.4 million jobs.

However Asia and the Pacific, which welcome 24 per cent of the total number of foreign visitors, take 29 per cent of the pie.

The Americas do even better, earning 24 per cent of all international tourism expenditure with just 16 per cent of the total number of international travelers in 2017.

But the big surprise is just how well Australia does.

Although it sits in third place on the list of countries that receive the most international visitors, the US made more income from tourism than any other country, a whopping USD  211 billion in 2017. That’s USD 2,739 from each of its 77 million international visitors.

In  second  place, Spain earned less than a third as much from tourism,  USD 68 billion, a comparatively modest USD 831 per person from its 82 million international arrivals.

Tourism ranks as the third highest contributor to Spain’s economy.

France received five million more visitors than Spain yet it earned less in total, USD 61 billion, which was USD 8 billion less than Spain, with an average visitor spend of just  USD 698.

The US figure is explained partly by the length of time international visitors spend there, whereas visitors to France and Spain, surrounded by the huge populations of Western Europe, are often there for a weekend. One surprise is that Canada earns far less than the USA per visitor, just USD 977 from each of its 20 million arrivals.

Britain gets less than half the number of international visitors as France and Spain yet on average each visitor spent more than twice what they spend in France, USD 1360 a person. That’s the same as the average spent per visitor to Iceland.

Although the average length of stay for international visitors to Iceland is much shorter than the same figure for Britain, the cost of travel, food and accommodation in Iceland is far higher.

Luxembourg earned more per visitor than any other European country in 2017, USD 4,322.

Although visitor numbers are comparatively small at just 1.5 million, that’s a healthy income   just under  USD 7800 for each of Luxembourg’s 580,000 inhabitants.

At the other end of the spectrum, if you’re looking for a bargain holiday in Europe, Turkey could be just the place.

At number eight on the list of countries that saw the most visitors, Turkey earned an average of just USD 597 per arrival.

The part of Europe in which travelers spent the least in 2017 was the sector the World Tourism Organization identifies as Central and Eastern Europe, a list that includes such countries as the Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary and the Russian Federation. Within that area the average traveler spent just USD 447.

Visitors to Israel, included as part of Southern and Mediterranean Europe by the UNWTO, recorded a far higher average spend, USD 1887 for each of the country’s 3.6 million visitors in 2017.

In south-east Asia, Thailand was the most popular country for foreign tourists with 35 million visitors in 2017.

It also earned more on average from each one of those tourists than any other country in the region, a healthy USD 1,624 per person. Singapore, which is far more expensive for travelers, earned USD 1,417 on average per visitor, but the average length of stay is much shorter in Singapore than in Thailand. Laos was bottom of the table for the region, with an average spend of just  USD 198 a visitor. In neighboring Vietnam, at the top of the region’s rankings for the greatest increase in visitor numbers for the year, the average visitor spent USD 685 in 2017.

Among the countries of north-east Asia, China welcomed more visitors than any other country, close to 33 million in 2017, yet average spend per visitor was just USD 536. Japan had less than half as many visitors as China yet it earned just under  USD 2 billion more in total, with an average spend per visitor of USD 1,186. Hong Kong had just 1 million fewer visitors than China and average spend was much the same, at $US1194 per person.

The country that earned the most from every foreign visitor in 2017, in fact blew all others out of the water, was Australia. In 2017, each of Australia’s 8.8 million international visitors spent on average USD 4,734. More than  in Liechtenstein, more than in the US, more than in the UAE. The figure for New Zealand that year was USD 2,893 per visitor, and although travel costs in New Zealand are about on par with Australia’s, most visitors spend less time there, which accounts for the difference in average spend.

Apart from those big economies, the 26 Caribbean Islands receive up 20,000 tourists daily from cruise ships alone. With a population of 98,000, the share of jobs of tourism and travel in Caribbean Islands of Antigua and Barbuda is 91% whereby 33,800 jobs are created by that industry. Bahamas with a population of 400,000 people, the share of  job of tourism and travel  is 52% whereby 393,200 jobs are created by that industry.

Last year, before the outbreak of Corona pandemic, the East African Indian Ocean islands of Zanzibar received a total number of 538,264 tourists, whereby tourists from Europe dominated the market, accounting for over 62 per cent of all arrivals. Italy topped the list with 8,509 tourists entering Zanzibar while United States of America and South Africa contributed 6.2 and 6.1 per cent, respectively.

In conclusion,  Zanzibar’s big tourism markets are Scandinavia, France, Russia, German, Belgium, Kenya and UK. There are also emerging markets like Poland, Ukraine, China, India and Israel.

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