Zanzibar’s exports of goods and services have increased by 20.5 percent for the year ending February thanks to tourism, hotel and accommodation.
However, with the Covid-19 pandemic, the situation set to change after the isles government banned international flights.
The Bank of Tanzania (BoT) said in its latest Monthly Economic Review report that the tourism pushed up export earnings to 238.4 million US dollars in twelve months to February.
“The outturn was largely associated with improved earnings from service-related activities—tourism, hotel and accommodation as well as export of cloves and seaweeds,” the central banks said.
The isles’ earnings from cloves exports amounted to 18.6 million US dollars, while earnings from seaweed amounted to 5.0 million US dollars.
Fish and fish products exports increased by more than two-fold while exports of domestically manufactured and re-export manufactured goods declined.
Shortly after announced the travel ban fortnight ago on foreign flights to Zanzibar, the Minister of Information, Tourism, and Antiquities, Mr. Mahmoud Thabit Kombo said the effect of coronavirus on tourism is more than 95 per cent.
Tourism is the isles’ leading foreign exchange earners of more than 80 per cent, contributing more than 25 per cent to the Isles GDP.
The Zanzibar government and the people here depend largely on tourism for their livelihood.
On the other hand Zanzibar, semi-autonomous archipelago is a net importer economy. For the year ending February, it Imports of goods and services amounted to 377.7 million US dollars.
“This was an increase of 28.9 percent compared to the corresponding period in 2019.
“The increase was mainly in oil, rice, wheat flour and sugar. Merchandise imports continued to dominate imports at 69.7 percent,” BoT said.
The central bank said the impact on the country economy was mild up to February because countries had not imposed trade restrictions and lockdown.
“As the spread of the pandemic disease deeply intensified towards the end of February, the impact on the economy became visible in March,”