Have the fishing communities of Zanzibar Island benefited from increasing tourism development?

  • May 05, 2016

This study was conducted at the coastal villages of Kamikazi, Matemwe and Nungi of Zanzibar Island to understand the influence of tourism on the income generating activities of the local fishers along the Coast of Zanzibar Island. The methodology mostly involved face-to-face interviews and structured questionnaires. Results indicate that increasing tourism has impacted fishers twofold: (1) Parts of their fishing grounds were lost through development of tourist infrastructure such as resorts and hotels along the beaches area; (2) Some of the fishing gears were destroyed by tourists during activities such as diving, snorkelling, swimming with dolphins, and boat riding over inshore waters where fishing is actively taking place. 

Over the past twenty years of tourism development along the coastal villages of Zanzibar Island, the living conditions of the local fishers have remained low. The fact that fishers are partly losing the access to their fishing grounds is more likely to increase poverty among the fishing communities and thereby creating conflicts among the stakeholders. Employment in the tourism sector (resorts/hotels) has not been an option for the fishers because of their low educational background, except for menial jobs. The rapid development of tourism along the coastal villages of Zanzibar Island, while concomitant with a general increase in GNP of the island, has thus not led to an improvement of income generation activities of the local fishers.

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