Muscat: Zanzibar is mostly viewed by Omanis through a historical prism and not so much as a holiday destination, which we would like to promote, said the Managing Director of Destination Zanzibar, who is trying to promote the island in the Gulf market.
“With strong existing historical and trade ties between Zanzibar and Oman, Destination Zanzibar is keen to revive these ties in the name of tourism,” Hafsa Mbamba told the Times of Oman in an email interview.
“We understand that there are strategic benefits of entering this market that we would like to explore,” she added.
“Our aim is to expand the existing strong ties between Zanzibar and Oman, Infuse Zanzibar as a ‘Culturally and Family friendly’ destination, promote travel between the two countries due to their close proximity, benefit from current direct flights to Zanzibar with Oman Air, make Zanzibar a new emerging travel destination for the people of Oman,” she continued.
She also said Destination Zanzibar is offering an opportunity for Omanis to experience Zanzibar through existing connections, as well as a tourist destination, by offering historical/cultural packages. According to Mbamba, Zanzibar has more to offer than just being a sun, sand and sea destination.
“Destination Zanzibar is to promote Zanzibar as a ‘more than a sun, sand and sea’ destination, to penetrate into new markets and increase business opportunities for the isles’ tourism industry,” she said.
“Zanzibar is generally known as just a beach destination with not much else to offer, although there is a wealth of history, cultural heritage, plenty of nature to discover, as well as adventurous activities for those who are more outdoor types,” she added.
“Our aim is to tap into new non-traditional markets, such as the Gulf market in order to reduce seasonal tourism and also take advantage of any existing ties Zanzibar might have with the particular market, which will open new business opportunities for the local industry,” Mbamba continued.
Speaking about the vision for the Gulf market she said, “We will aim to design a holistic partnership between the tourism sectors of Zanzibar and the Gulf region in marketing Zanzibar as a destination.”
“We plan on marketing Zanzibar, based on what it can offer as a destination by pulling our resources and identifying what makes us unique among our neighbouring competitors,” she said, while commenting on how they will help local tourism companies attract more tourists to Zanzibar.
“We have a high chance of revamping Zanzibar by pulling on its strengths, which will attract more tourists accordingly and hopefully repeat customers, who are more interest-based and willing to return,” she added.
She also said they are very likely to create an app as a vehicle to grow Destination Zanzibar and the business of their clients.
“We understand that with everything being at our finger tips, we need to simplify ‘travel in Zanzibar’ and offer what the market is expecting from us,” she asserted.
Speaking about their participation in the Arabian Travel Market (ATM), which begins on April 25, she said, “We are very excited to be exhibiting at the Arabian Travel Market as this has been the goal since the launch of Destination Zanzibar almost three years ago.”
“Our stall visitors will get an insight into travel information on Zanzibar and its offerings, based on our local knowledge and the companies we are representing; we also aim to create an awareness about investment opportunities in Zanzibar, directly and indirectly involved with tourism,” she added.
“What we expect to gain from being part of ATM is to expose Zanzibar to this region, create a buzz and get people to understand what Zanzibar is all about,” the Managing Director explained.
Speaking about Zanzibar as a perfect place to host corporate events and weddings as a destination Mbamba said, “Zanzibar offers a combination of top notch conference facilities and wedding venues both in the heart of Stone Town, the capital city, which provides an opportunity to explore the island very easily. As well as the beach facilities still allows attendees to take advantage of it.”
“There are other amenities to compliment these events; restaurants to choose from when planning off site events and of course excursions to embark on to explore the island,” she added.