Zanzibar plans to develop its blue economy by investing more in the fishing industry by upgrading and supporting investors offering tourism services.
Zanzibar President Ali Mohamed Shein said focus will be on strengthening the fishing industry after years of stagnation despite the archipelago’s marine biodiversity. He said this while launching a $11.6 million-worth landing site and fish market project in Malindi, Zanzibar.
“It is unacceptable that Zanzibar, in the Indian Ocean, does not benefit from fishing. We don’t even have a single fish processing plant,” President Shein said.
The Malindi landing site and fish market, set for completion in October this year, is expected to accommodate at least two dozen small fishing vessels and up to 6,500 fish traders.
Lack of modern fishing equipment has been cited as a factor in the poor performance of the archipelago’s fishing industry.
Tourism has been the mainstay of Zanzibar’s economy following the collapse of the cloves export trade over the past two decades, occasioned by declining world clove prices.
Currently, tourism accounts for 27 per cent of the GDP and over 80 per cent of foreign currency earnings, according to Bank of Tanzania 2019 report. Data from the government-run Zanzibar Investment Promotion Authority shows that tourism earnings increased from $172 million in 2018 to $195 million by end of October 2019, with 520,809 tourist arrivals.
The archipelago has attracted international hotel chains in the past couple of years, which has seen the entry of the $8.5 million Golden Tulip Airport Zanzibar Hotel and Moja Tuu and Hakuna Majiwe beach resorts, adding about 800 beds, according to the Zanzibar Association of Tourism Investors.
Last year, the World Bank granted Zanzibar $150 million for tourism development and the funds will be used to rehabilitate key roads leading to the airport, port and also in preservation of heritage sites on the archipelago.