BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific Somali Swahili French Great Lakes Hausa Portugeuse
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
    You are in: Africa  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
LANGUAGES
EDITIONS
 Tuesday, 28 January, 2003, 13:21 GMT
Zanzibar pays terror price
Stone Town in Zanzibar
Tourists are warned to be vigilant in public places

The music is playing but the only people listening to it at this hotel restaurant are the waiters.

It has never been so bad and I'm worried that we will all starve

Prosper Nyagamba, shop owner
They stand idly by waiting in vain for someone to serve.

The problem is there are just a handful of tourists visiting Zanzibar following terrorist warnings issued by the United States, British and Italian Governments, among others.

Naila Juddair runs the Palm Beach Inn on the east coast of the island. Her story is typical.

Handful of visitors

"This is normally the busiest time of the year for us, but I have just two guests. I should have 18, but the rest cancelled. When the message went out that tourists should leave, planes were leaving with the frequency of dala dala buses."

Around 100,000 tourists visit Zanzibar each year, attracted by its pristine beaches and Arab culture.

At this time of year, the island usually has around 1,000 tourists a week from Italy alone, but those charter flights have stopped and several hotels have shut down.

Each tourist pays around $50 in visa and departure charges, so the effect on the economy is expected to be immense.

"All parts of the economy are affected. Direct revenues are down, hotels are not earning money, shopping is affected, tourist guides are affected, fishermen can no longer sell their fish," says Dr Ahmada Khatib, the director of marketing at the Zanzibar commission for tourism.

The narrow maze of streets in Zanzibar's historic Stone Town is normally thronging with tourists but now hundreds of souvenir shops are competing for the business of just a handful of visitors.

'Media hype'

Prosper Nyagamba says the number of people visiting his shop each day has decreased dramatically.

"Today I have had five tourists in my shop when normally I would expect 50. It has never been so bad and I'm worried that we will all starve."

Zanzibar
The threats have scared tourists off beaches

There are still a few tourists visiting Zanzibar. One I spoke to said she had little time for the terror warnings.

"I think it's media hype, I'm not scared. I don't think there will be a terrorist attack. Why attack a Muslim island?" asks Anna Steriksma.

The Zanzibari authorities are emphasising strongly that they believe there is no credible terror threat but restoring confidence amongst western tourists is not going to be easy.

And it is unlikely to happen during this peak season which finishes at the end of March.

Dr Ahmada Khatib has a message for would-be visitors.

"Please come and see for yourselves that it is safe here. You have nothing to be worried about. That is the message that tourists should take back to their own countries."

See also:

11 Jan 03 | Africa
18 Dec 02 | Africa
29 Nov 02 | Africa
29 Nov 02 | Country profiles
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Africa stories are at the foot of the page.


 E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Africa stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes