Thursday, January 7, 2016
Zanzibar daily flights by Fastjet a boom for tourism
Fastjet Tanzania,the low-cost pan-African airline has introduced daily flights to the Spice Islands of Zanzibar from Dar es Salaam that will commence effectively from 11th January 2016. The flights will depart once daily from Monday to Friday and twice every Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and on weekends with an affordable return fare rate of Sh. 70,000 until 21st March 2016. This is good news for stakeholders in tourism industry as travellers especially tourists who frequent Zanzibar from various parts of the world for holidaymaking will now enjoy special fares for travel from the airline. The airline made the announcement a few days ago as a strategic means to cater for the needs of its customers’ demand according to the airline policy. It is also expected that the move will help tour and travel agencies come up with more attractive packages for holidays and safaris in Zanzibar. The launch of the daily flight schedules is a boom for tourism industry in the Isles as there will be a tremendous increase number of people who are anxious to visit most tourist destination centres recognized as world heritage sites by UNESCO. Safari and tour operators in Tanzania have welcomed the news as it will further strengthen their business ties with the rest of the world as tourism has over the years emerged as a leading source of the countries revenue. This latest move by Fastjet is bound to further impact positively on the airline’s market share on the route where it will have a competitive edge over other airlines operating along the same route. According to the Fastjet General Manager Jimmy Kibati, Fastjet’s passengers wanting to fly to Zanzibar will now have a choice of departure days, no more being restricted to starting their flight on either a Tuesday or a Thursday as it is now. According to him, the Dar-Zanzibar flight that will also be connecting to Johannesburg in South Africa is in line with Fastjet’s policy of listening to its customers’ demands. He says that flights to South Africa will depart Zanzibar at 09h30 and land in Johannesburg at 13h20, with the return flight from Johannesburg departing at 14h10 and landing in Zanzibar at 19h40 (all local times). The new route will be sweet music to the ears of local and international holiday makers who will now have a choice of departure days, unlike before when they were restricted to start their holidays on either a Tuesday or a Thursday. Tickets for the Zanzibar flights are on sale immediately, with one way fares from Dar es Salaam starting from Tsh 22,000 and fares from Zanzibar starting 22,000, making a return flight to the Spice Islands from Dar es Salaam start at only Tsh 70,000 including airport charges and government taxes. Zanzibar's capital is the historical Stone Town, home to much of Zanzibar's tourism industry. It is also a world heritage site as there is a lot to be proud of in terms of tourism as there are very many destinations and activities to enjoy on a holiday or safari. The town is home to numerous historical and cultural sites, including Makusurani graveyard where many of the island’s previous Arab rulers are buried. The beautiful beaches in Zanzibar and the amazing cultural experience the island offers are some other attractive features to be enjoyed.
Another fascinating feature is the House of Wonders which is a four-storey building to be the first place on the islands with electrical lights, Hamani and Kidichi Persian Baths, Dunga Ruins (a palace built in the 15th century by the rulers of the time), and the Peace Memorial Museum, which serves a national historical museum detailing the island's long history. Zanzibar is home to large amounts of beaches and clear Indian Ocean waters, as well as coral and limestone scarps which allow for significant amounts of diving and snorkeling. The diving and snorkeling are done in marine parks. The aquatic life boasts of dolphins, moray eels, lion fish, octopus and lobsters, among others. Tourists may also go dhow cruising around the small islands. Moreover, tourists can view the scenic sunset as they savour the Island’s akies. The town is famous for its spice tours as tourists visit the various coconut and spice plantations in the island. Zanzibar is known for its variety of spices that are used to prepare food, cosmetics and medicines. Some of the fruits available include banana, coconut, lime, jackfruit and breadfruit. The spices available include clove, nutmeg, black pepper, vanilla and coriander. Besides, the Island is also known for its salt and seaweed farms that may be visited by tourists. Tour operators in the country now have an opportunity to create and market cost effective tour packages with some of these amazing destinations at more affordable Fastjet prices compared to the rest of the flight operators operating on the Dar es Salaam-Zanzibar route. Statistics by the Ministry of Tourism in Zanzibar shows that in 1984, fewer than 20,000 tourists visited Zanzibar and, now the number is pegged to about 200,000 tourists per year. Stakeholders have noted that, the slowly growing tourism industry in the Isles is mainly due to ineffective transport from the mainland. But this time around, the introduction of regular flight schedules by Fastjet will boost the industry to a comparatively higher level. Many visitors come on circuits from the north and south with domestic flights by Precision Air, Coastal Aviation, ZanAir, and other private charters. “Fastjet’s lowest fares to Zanzibar from Dar es Salaam will be significantly cheaper than those charged by the only airline currently flying this route, who do so only twice a week. In fact, passengers flying between Dar es Salaam and Zanzibar cannot find return fares lower than Tsh 70,000 during the months of December 2015, January and February 2016”, notes Kibati. Previously, Fastjet partnered with Dar es Salaam-based Coastal Aviation charter flight to fly passengers to Zanzibar, but flights were restricted to daylight flights and involved transfers and luggage collection on the ground in Dar es Salaam. “What’s more, paying less for flights means that holidaymakers now have the choice to perhaps upgrade their accommodation, or to take the whole family along instead of leaving the little ones at home with the grandparents”, adds Kibati. With Fastjet’s cheapest fares almost half the price of existing lowest fares, the airline expects many of its passengers on this flight to be first time visitors to Zanzibar, who would otherwise not have been able to afford to travel to what is a popular holiday destination for local and international travellers. “Affordable fares makes it easier for more tourists and other visitors to travel to Zanzibar, which in turn will boost tourism on the island and contribute significantly to Zanzibar’s’ economic growth,” the GM concludes.