Tanzania: Zanzibar Govt Keen On ICT Use to Boost Tourism, Economy

THE Revolutionary Government of Zanzibar has extended its national fibre optical transmission network (the national ICT backbone) to cover all tourism hotspots in a deliberate move to further jerk the role of tourism in the Isles' economy.

Tourism accounts for about 25 per cent of Zanzibar's gross domestic product (GDP) and up to 80 per cent of the Isle's foreign exchange earnings. Key on the government's agenda is how to use ICT to ensure that all tourists visiting the stone town are safe.

"This is why we have put up security cameras across the stone town. Our aim is to ensure that everyone visiting the stone town is safe and that he/she returns home safely," the director of communications from the Ministry of Works, Communications and Transport in the Revolutionary Government of Zanzibar Dr Mzee Suleiman Mndewa, said.

He was speaking to journalists, who visited various areas of Zanzibar during the weekend with a view to learning how the government and its partners, including a Chinese multinational telecommunications equipment and systems company, ZTE Corporation, are advancing ICT for the economic betterment of the people of Zanzibar.

According to the executive director for the Zanzibar ICT Infrastructure Agency, Engineer Shukuru Awadhi Suleiman, understanding the importance of tourism to Zanzibar's economy, President Ali Mohammed Shein's administration has also improved communication services across all tourism hotspots in north, south and urban Zanzibar.

"We are doing that by aiding all telecommunication firms to make use of the ICT backbone - which we have extended to all those areas - as a way of simplifying communication services among tourists," he said.

Some telecommunication operators in tourism hotspots, said Eng Suleiman, are currently utilising the national fibre backbone. This, he said, has cut on communication costs because with the national fibre backbone, operators were no longer using microwaves for their communication needs. Microwaves require transmission of information by microwave radio waves.

According to Eng Suleiman, microwaves are expensive to run, hence thwarting the government's agenda of improving communication to Zanzibar residents and tourists.

"Microwave's data capacity is smaller compared to the national fibre backbone.

It also requires huge running costs whereby you will need electricity or generators as well as costs associated with its (microwave) servicing,"

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