EXIM Bank Tanzania has pledged to support Zanzibar’s tourism industry to attain its target of increasing the number of visitors to 850,000 annually come 2025.
The Bank’s Chief Executive Officer, Jaffari Matundu made the pledge to the Zanzibar President Dr. Hussein Ali Mwinyi who visited the bank’s pavilion at the last week-ended Tourism Summit for Zanzibar Tourism stakeholders dubbed “Z-Summit Zanzibar 2023″.
Matundu informed the president that the bank has set up plans to boost inclusive and sustainable development in the sector and help local tourism entrepreneurs, including women and youth, adopt digital platforms to grow their businesses.
“Exim Bank has, through various initiatives, given tourism development a new focus. By interacting with our dedicated team at the bank’s Tourism Desk in Zanzibar, tourism stakeholders have been exposed to true specialists in the fields of tourism banking operations and financial needs within the tourism industry,” he said.
Exim Bank Tanzania was the main sponsor of the Z–Summit, which was the first international tourism summit to be held in Zanzibar. The Summit, which was organized by Kilifair in collaboration with the Zanzibar Association of Tourism Investors (ZATI), was attended by over 300 delegates from the tourism industry, including government senior officials, a number of international tour operators and hotel owners.
According to Matundu, partnering with ZATI, just a year ago, saw the bank providing a number of financial solutions to all ZATI members such as Corporate and SME Loans, Structuring Loans according to cash flows, Dedicated Treasury Sales Dealer, Competitive pricing in TZS/USD and all other currencies.
Other solutions include Preferential Treatment at the branch, a Dedicated Relationship Manager, Cash Delivery or PickUp upon agreement, Concessions in Tariffs, Insurance services and Payment machines (POS) to make it easier for tourists to make payments and not have to worry about carrying or walking with money.
“The partnership is an example of the long-term and large-scale support that Exim Bank provides to strategic sectors of the economies in the country in this case, the Zanzibar tourism industry,’’ he said.
In his opening remarks, Dr. Mwinyi thanked the private sector and other tourism stakeholders for collaborating with the government to promote the islands.
He said that tourism significantly contributed to Zanzibar’s economy, accounting for nearly 30 percent of its GDP and that his government was committed to meeting market demands and matching supply to host 850,000 tourists by 2025.
Dr. Mwinyi informed the audience that Zanzibar has experienced a gradual and positive increase in room numbers, with an average of 2,000 rooms per year since 2019, and the opening of new international branded hotels and resorts in both Unguja and Pemba.
“As a result, we are gradually meeting the demand and offering a unique international experience to our tourists without losing our authentic Zanzibari identity,” the President added.
In his remarks, Simai Mohamed Said Zanzibar’s Minister for Tourism and Heritage said: “We must work together to promote sustainable tourism and ensure that the sector’s economic benefits are shared by all while preserving the islands’ natural and cultural heritage for generations to come,” he said.
Commenting on the existing relationship between tourism stakeholders in Zanzibar and the Exim Bank Tanzania, ZATI Chairperson Rahim Bhaloo said the bank was the right partner as it is highly respected for its excellent service delivery, robust infrastructure driven by innovation, and operating on an advanced banking technology platform.
“Joining forces with Exim Bank was a natural choice for ZATI and the agreement and cooperation was intended to help strengthen the platform for the Tourism Stakeholders of Zanzibar and to help unlock the whole sector’s full potential,’’ he said.