ZANZIBAR received 60,685 visitors last month, bringing to 538,264, the total number of tourist arrivals in 2019.
The December arrivals represent a 26.9 per cent rise from 47,824 tourists in the previous month, Head of Tourism Statistics Department with the Office of Chief Government Statistician (OCGS) Abdul-Malik Bakar Ali said here on Friday.
The December 2019 arrivals also represent a 14.9 per cent increase from the 52,828 tourists recorded in the corresponding period in 2018, said Mr Bakar in his December 2019 tourism statistical release to reporters.
He said tourists from Europe dominated the market, accounting for over 62 per cent of all arrivals.
Italy topped the list with 8,509 tourists entering Zanzibar while United States of America and South Africa contributed 6.2 and 6.1 per cent, respectively.
Other Zanzibar’s big tourism markets are Scandinavia, France, Russia, German, Belgium, Kenya and UK.
There are also emerging markets like Poland, Ukraine, China, India and Israel, Mr Bakar explained.
“Details on the visit purposes show that 60,111 visitors over 99 per cent came for holidays and less than one per cent were visiting friends and relatives,” said the statistician.
There were 520,397 bedspaces available in December 2019, with 467,401 hotelbeds sold during the month, representing a bed occupancy rate of about 90 per cent.
Over 39,000 visitors flew directly from their home countries to Zanzibar while 21,000 tourists entered the Spice Islands by domestic flights and boats from the mainland, the tourism statistical release for December 2019 shows.
There were 68,163 visitors in August 2019, a record high number of visitors.
“We had a record high number of tourists in August – for many years; Zanzibar has never received such a huge number of visitors within one month,” Head of Economic Statistics Department Abdul Ramadhan Abeid said.
During the year, the month of May had 15,640 tourists, the lowest number.
Generally, tourist arrivals increased by 3.4 per cent from the 520,809 visitors recorded in 2018 to 538,264.
The government, through Chama Cha Mapinduzi’s 2015-2020 election manifesto, had anticipated 500,000 tourists by 2020 but the target was surpassed two years previously, with 520,809 visitors received in 2018.
Zanzibar Commission for Tourism’s Director of Marketing, Dr Miraji Ukuti Ussi, said the government, through the commission, remains devoted to execute strategies to attract more visitors as well as promote domestic tourism.
“Domestic tourism is growing impressively. Wananchi are gradually becoming enthusiastic to visit various tourist attractions in the country,” said Dr Ussi, pointing out that Zanzibar is endowed with hundreds of attractions.
Tourism is one of Zanzibar’s key economic sectors, accounting for 27 per cent of gross domestic product and over 80 per cent of forex earnings.