Zanzibar unveils plans for East Africa’s first seven-star hotel

Unguja. Zanzibar is set to break new ground in East African tourism with the construction of the Montuli, a luxurious seven-star hotel on the idyllic island of Pemba.

Speaking at the groundbreaking ceremony for another resort project in North Unguja on January 6, Sharif Ali Sharif, the executive director of the Zanzibar Investment Authority (ZIPA), unveiled the ambitious plans for the future.

"We have many exciting developments on the horizon," Sharif declared, "but one stands out in particular: the arrival of East Africa's first ever seven-star hotel on Pemba Island. Let's commend President Hussein Mwinyi for his visionary leadership in making this a reality."

Sharif's announcement wasn't the only noteworthy development. He also revealed plans for a 2,500-capacity convention center in the Fumba Free Economic Zone, along with mixed-sports stadiums, some backed by renowned athletes.

ZIPA data indicated a thriving investment landscape, with 296 projects worth $4.5 billion (Sh11.5 trillion) registered in the past three years, creating 17,000 jobs. Notably, 112 of these projects (38 percent) are in tourism, highlighting the sector's crucial role in Zanzibar's economy.

North Unguja boasts its own impressive share of investment, with 71 projects totaling $1.85 billion (Sh4.6 trillion) and generating 5,830 jobs (24 percent of the total).

Dr. Seleman Jafo, Minister of State in the Office of the Vice President, Union, and Environment, emphasized the importance of sustainable development.

 "Every investment," he stressed, "must prioritise environmental protection and climate change mitigation."

Dr. Jafo further noted the link between environmental well-being and tourism, stating, "Protecting our environment not only safeguards our future, but also ensures returning tourists. They wouldn't come back to find paradise lost."

He urged everyone to take responsibility for preserving Zanzibar's unique natural beauty and rich cultural heritage.

Hussein Muzamir, the investor behind the Montuli, expressed his confidence in Zanzibar's potential.

"The attractive policies and enabling environment on the island," he said, "attracted us to invest $8 million (Sh20.1 billion) in this project, which will create 200 jobs upon completion."

Regional Commissioner Rashid Hadid Rashid acknowledged the existing tourism infrastructure in North Unguja, with 255 hotels employing 11,290 people, 71 of which were built during the current government.

Looking ahead, Deputy Minister Hamza Chillo encouraged investors to contribute to environmental initiatives within the communities they impact.

 He also emphasized the need for local youth to be prioritized for employment opportunities, ensuring fair distribution of the project's benefits.

With the addition of the Montuli and other ambitious projects, the island is poised to solidify its position as a luxury tourism destination in East Africa.