Over the past six decades, tourism has expanded and diversified to become one of the world’s largest and fastest growing economic sectors. It has contributed to the socio-economic progress of many nations through export revenues, job and enterprise creation, and infrastructure development. As a result, each year an increasing number of destinations around the world invest in and encourage tourism. The global tourism industry continued to perform well, buoyed by stable consumer confidence and improving economic conditions.
It continues to play a key role as a driver of growth and job creation, growing at 4% in 2014 and providing 266 million jobs, directly and indirectly. This means that the industry now accounts for one in 11 jobs on the planet, a number that could even rise to one in 10 jobs by the year 2022, according to the World Tourism and Travel Council.
Zanzibar continues to rate as one of the world’s most desirable tourism destinations. Zanzibar has what more and more international travellers want – spectacular natural beauty, a pristine environment, safety and security, friendly and welcoming people, and world-class historical sites. Indeed, promoting cultural tourism provides a distinct competitive advantage. The growth of percentage share of tourism in GDP as well as increased visitor expenditure and numbers are evidence of Zanzibar’s appeal as a destination. It is estimated that tourism account for more than 27 percent in Zanzibar’s Growth Domestic Product and 80 percent of foreign exchange earnings.
In 2013, the overall average expenditure of visitors to Zanzibar was US$284 per person per night compared to US$ 217 recorded in 2007. The country received a total of 294,243 arrivals in 2015. This shows a decline of 6 percent (17,648) from the 2014 figure of 311,891. The decrease in overseas tourist arrivals may be attributed to the global economic and financial crisis affecting industrialized countries, especially these in the Euro zone. The peaceful environment of the country urged to attract huge tourist traffic to Zanzibar. International travel demand for Zanzibar is expected to increase steadily over the next year. The number of international visitors is forecast to increase to 360,000 and 500,000 in 2016 and 2020 respectively. The numbers is expected to be served by at least 420 accommodation units, 305 tour operators, 48 diving Centres and 98 registered boutiques shops.
The improved global economic outlook - especially the sustained economic recovery in Zanzibar’s traditional inbound source markets such as the UK and the USA – and a growing interest for long haul travel bodes well for growth in the number of international visitor arrivals. Throughout this period, Zanzibar will face an increasingly competitive environment, with more marketing by competitor destinations, changing distribution channels and broadening media options.