Zanzibar is a 2,462 km2 (951 sq mi) insular autonomous region of Tanzania. It is composed of the Zanzibar Archipelago in the Indian Ocean, 25–50 kilometres (16–31 mi) off the coast of the mainland. Consisting of many small islands; the two large ones are Unguja (the main island, referred to informally as Zanzibar) and Pemba Island. The capital is Zanzibar City, located on the island of Unguja. Its historic centre is Stone Town, a World Heritage Site.
Zanzibar’s main industries are spices, raffia, and tourism. In particular, the islands produce cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon, and black pepper. For this reason, the Zanzibar Archipelago, together with Tanzania’s Mafia Island, are sometimes referred to locally as the “Spice Islands”. Tourism in Zanzibar is a more recent activity, driven by government promotion that caused an increase from 19,000 tourists in 1985, to 376,000 in 2016. The islands are accessible via 5 ports and the Abeid Amani Karume International Airport, which can serve up to 1.5 million passengers per year.
As an autonomous part of Tanzania, Zanzibar has its own government, known as the Revolutionary Government of Zanzibar. It is made up of the Revolutionary Council and House of Representatives.
The autonomous status of Zanzibar is viewed as comparable to Hong Kong as suggested by some scholars, and with some recognizing the island as an “African Hong Kong”.
Tourism in Zanzibar includes the tourism industry and its effects on the islands of Unguja (known internationally as Zanzibar) and Pemba in Zanzibar a semi-autonomous region in the United Republic of Tanzania. Tourism is the top income generator for the islands, outpacing even the lucrative agricultural export industry and providing roughly 25% of income. The main airport on the island is Zanzibar International Airport, though many tourists fly into Dar es Salaam and take a ferry to the island.
The increase in tourism, has led to a significant environmental impacts and mixed impacts on local communities, who were expected to benefit from economic development but in large part haven’t. Communities have witnessed increasing environmental degradation, and that flow of tourists has reduced the access of local communities to the marine and coastal resources that are the center of tourist activity.
Zanzibar has 1,600 kilometres of roads, of which 85 percent are tarmacked or semi-tarmacked. The remainder are earth roads, which are rehabilitated annually to make them passable throughout the year.
There is no government-owned public transportation in Zanzibar. The privately owned Daladala, as it is officially known in Zanzibar, is the only kind of public transportation. The term Daladala originated from the Kiswahili word DALA(Dollar) or five shillings during the 1970s and 1980s when public transport cost five shillings to travel to the nearest town. Therefore, travelling to town will cost a Dollar(“Dala”) and returning will again cost a Dollar, hence the term Daladala originated.
Stone Town is the main hub for Daladalas on Zanzibar and nearly all journeys will either start or end here. There are two main Dala Dala stations in Stone Town: Darajani market and Mwanakwerekwe market. The Darajani market terminus serves the North and North East of the island and the Mwanakwerekwe market terminus serves the South and South East. As with most of East African transport, the buses do not run on set schedules – instead departing when full. As there is no fixed schedule, it is not possible to book tickets in advance (with the exception of The Zanzibus). There are plans of implementing a government-operated bus service on the island, which will bring the ground transportation more in line with the relatively developed water and air transport infrastructure, but there is currently no timeline available for this project. With Zanzibar visitor numbers set to top 1,000,000 annually, there will be increasing pressure on the current transportation network – the bus network will reduce the number of vehicles on the road and help reduce environmental impact of tourism on the Zanzibar.
There are five ports in the islands of Unguja and Pemba, all operated and developed by the Zanzibar Ports Corporation.
The main port at Malindi, which handles 90 percent of Zanzibar’s trade, was built in 1925. The port was rehabilitated between 1989 and 1992 with financial assistance from the European Union.
Zanzibar Airport Terminal I
Zanzibar’s main airport, Abeid Amani Karume International Airport, has been able to handle large passenger planes since 2011, which has resulted in an increase in passenger and cargo inflows and outflows. Since another increase in capacity by the end of 2013, it can serve up to 1.5 million passengers per year. The island can be reached by flights operated by Auric Air, Kenya Airways, Qatar Airways, Turkish Airlines, FlyDubai, Mango Airline and Coastal Aviation.
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