Lela Muhamed Mussa, Minister for Tourism and Heritage, The Revolution Government of Zanzibar, Tanzania in an exclusive interview with Disha Shah Ghosh shares plans on the priority tourism segments, joint marketing with established African neighours, and culture as a medium to promote tourism in India.
Q. Having just taken over as the Tourism Minister of Zanzibar, what are your key areas of priority at a time the world is adopting to the new normal?
Our key areas to the Tourism of Zanzibar at a time the world is adopting to the new normal are;
• Emphasis on Local Tourism and Tourism for all
• Tourism for Blue Economy
• Museums and local Cultures
• Conference and Sports Tourism
Q. In terms of global positioning of Zanzibar, what is the plan of action?
In terms of Global Positioning of Zanzibar, the plan of actions are;
• To increase the number of days to stay in Zanzibar for tourists from 5 to more than 10 days to be able to explore, leading to high foreign exchange earning.
• To have conference tourism in Zanzibar, national and international conferences, Festivals, making Zanzibar as the main destination for international weddings, international celebrations, international and National Youth Camps, exchange programmes, ecology, sports tourism, wellness and fitness programmes, business and cultural activities and research programmes which will include national and international researchers.
• Creating the Zanzibar Brand through cooperating with tourism stakeholders, Embassies, and with national and international celebrities through their jobs to advertise and brand well our islands.
• Conducting clean-up campaign to different tourism destinations around Zanzibar to attract tourists and making friendly environment for all.
Q. Zanzibar is a high-end destination. Any change in that position in the changed circumstances?
Zanzibar is a high-end destination, there are some changes to be made in this changed circumstances as;
• The reconstruction of the buildings mostly to those which are older than the others.
• Establishing newest tourist destinations and excursions like sports tourism as gold tourism, beach soccer, the best areas for conference tourism and cultural festival, the camping sites for national and international delegates.
• Re- make and reform tourism laws, policy and regulations of Zanzibar
• Changes in managements through Ministry for Tourism and in commission for Zanzibar Commission for Tourism
• Establishing tangible projects for day to date tourism going through the digitalised world of globalization
Q. How will you use culture as a medium to create awareness in the Indian market on the tourism front?
The cultural connections between Zanzibar and Indians date back to decades. Through culture as the medium to create awareness in the Indian market on the tourism front, there are many different ways for it to get the strong bond together including
• The use of traditional music from Zanzibar which is mostly relating to the Indian styles of music, specifically on instruments used and the singing styles
• The use of traditional food from Zanzibar islands which we mostly share spices that historically was brought from Asian countries including India and has been attracting so many people visiting in Zanzibar and made it known as Spice Island for its richness in Spices and herbs.
• Through language styles and having several Indian words in Swahili language, as we know Swahili language comprises different words from different languages like English, Germany, Arab and Hindu.
Q. Besides leisure, your trade strategy to tap the MICE segment in India?
Beside leisure, my trade strategy to tap the MICE segment in India is that, we will be sticking to our plans on making sure we implement the conference tourism in Zanzibar as in 15th July 2019 the First Annual Conference of the International Society for Academic Researchers (ISFAR) was conducted in Zanzibar, Zanzibar International Tourism Forums, the Exhibitions, Incentives and more. Therefore, with India through taping MICE, the first thing is through Conferencing which will involve different tourism stakeholders, cooperating and interconnecting through several festivals and exhibitions within India, conducting exchange meetings between people around the world meeting in India or shifting to Zanzibar and more.
Q. Can we expect additional air connections to India to boost tourism in the near future?
Yes, we both need to expect additional air connections to India to boost tourism in the near future so that we can be able to keep our closer connections between India and Zanzibar, keeping the business running and friendship among both states.
Q. Any plans for joint marketing with established African tourism destinations to drive tourist numbers from India?
Yes, there are many different plans for joint marketing with established African tourism destinations to drive tourist number from India as;
• Joint marketing through sports tourism as India is way better in sports like crickets, tennis, soccer and traditional sports which Zanzibar will also be practicing according to our plans hence we will start the exchange of information and join marketing for the tourism betterment.
• Through the conference and meeting tourism which is the trending industry world widely, Zanzibar is among the country that now practicing more, which when jointly cooperating through jointly marketing with India will be the source of driving tourism number increasement further in both states.
• Through having marketing deals and working cooperatively into leveraging more affordable air travel and unique attractions to increase arrivals in both states.