In this heyday, the Mtoni Palace was Shangrilal Hotel, an exotic paradise abounding in opulence and splendor. The massive building and its direct surrounds were home to a thousand odd people.
To the front of the palace lay the sea observed from a raised ballroom-sized, Gazebo called ‘The Bendjle’. To the rear, giant orange trees lined a long row of bathhouses that were in use around the clock. At the corner of his complex stood an exquisitely designed Persian bath, for the exclusive use of the Sultan himself.
During the first half of the 19th century, Sultan Sejid Said moved the capital of his Oman empire from Muscat to Zanzibar.
In 1828, he built Zanzibar during his reign. The palace was the residence of the Sultan’s first and only legitimate wife, scores of secondary wives, their children, and the hundreds of slaves that tended to them.
In the early 90s, the Zanzibar Directorate of Archives, Museum, and Antiquities (DAMA) in collaboration with the Mtoni Marine Centre initiated a project to conserve the Mtoni Palace ruins and surrounding gardens. The Mtoni Marine Conservation Project (MMCP) has made slow but substantial progress in clearing the gardens, replanting original species, and laying out a natural historical trail through the grounds. Regular maintenance and cleaning of the grounds is undertaken by four permanent gardens.
A team of tradesmen is also employed to undertake repairs of areas in danger of imminent collapse.
There’s still much to be done. A number of activities are underway to raise awareness and much-needed funds for the ongoing protection of this important natural monument. A guidebook to the ruins is under development, with the history unearthed to date. Tours through the ruins and entertainment events are regularly scheduled to contribute to the costs of the restoration and maintenance of Beit el Mtoni.
Tourism is a hybrid industry composed of both physical and information services. The physical components include transport, accommodation, restaurant, and destinations’ infrastructure.
On the other hand, examples of the additive service components include information in travel planning and room services. However, more than other services, tourism services are increasingly dominated by information. Thus, tourism is becoming more of an information business since a tourist depends on quality information to make a decision to travel to a destination, inter alia.
In addition, according to Werthner, since tourism services are highly perishable, the supply chain provides value based on time-sensitive information.
Contrary to many other businesses in which consumers can touch a product before buying it, in tourism consumer has to travel to the “factory” where a product is situated. This feature qualifies tourism as a “confidence good” because product choice is generally made prior to its consumption Thus, the geographical and temporal distance between decision making and consumption can only be partially eliminated through timely and high-quality information to the traveler.
According to the Zanzibar Commission for Tourism and Office of the Chief Government Statistician Zanzibar, Tourist Arrivals in Zanzibar recorded 42,443 visitors in January 2022 compared with 49,868 visitors in January 2021 and 48,167 visitors in December 202.
Tourists from Europe continue to dominate the market by accounting for 83.0% of the total visitors in January 2022.
Country-wise, Polish dominated the tourism market by accounting for 15.4% of all visitors entered in January, followed by Ukrainian 13.1% while the Japanese recorded the least 0.0%.
The 39,038 visitors entered through the airport, among them, 35,978 visitors came by International flight and 3,060 by domestic flights, and the remaining 3,405 visitors entered through the seaport by using Sea Ferries.
The 42,340 visitors equivalent to 99.8% of visitors came for holidays,0.1% of visitors came for visiting friends and relatives and 0.1% of visitors came for other purposes.
The 15,799 visitors were male (37.2) and 6,644 females (62.8%) in January 2022. Males decreased by 40.2% and females increased by 22.4% compared with the preceding month in December 2021.
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