ZANZIBAR'S tourism drive took yet another big boost with the Indian Ocean semi-autonomous archipelagos seizing the opportunity of high-profile visitors, including renowned sports personalities to market her tourist attractions.
The Spice Islands are not alien to hosting world celebrities but of late, government leaders have gone an extra mile, capitalising on big name arrivals to lift up the hospitality industry, one of the main drivers of Zanzibar's economy.
On Wednesday, the Second Vice-President Hemed Suleiman Abdulla hosted PSG ace Ander Herera at his office at the House of Representatives, Chukwani area in Unguja.
The former Manchester United's Spanish midfielder landed in Zanzibar to continue with his summer holiday, having previously enjoyed wildlife tourism in Mainland Tanzania.
Welcoming the PSG star, the 2nd Vice-President Abdulla commended him for visiting Zanzibar, a place famed for exotic cultural tourism and beautiful beaches.
Abdulla presented Herrera with a certificate, declaring him as Zanzibar's tourism ambassador, urging the PSG star to promote the Isles tourist attractions abroad.
The 32-year-old midfielder landed in the country a few days ago accompanied by his wife and the duo's first break was at Serengeti National Park where they had a memorable experience of admiring nature that the country is endowed with.
On his official instagram page, he posted a couple of photos taken while visiting the most popular national park in the world, picturing different animals like lions, elephants, buffalos, zebras and many others.
Also on Wednesday, the Minister for Tourism and Antiquities, Simai Mohammed Said hosted African football legend and incumbent president of the Cameroon Football Federation, Samuel Eto'o. They discussed various issues on tourism and sports development.
Eto'o, who starred for European giants Barcelona and Inter Milan, guiding both teams to UEFA Champions League titles, is among football stars and administrators, who are expected to grace Tanzania Football Summit 2022.
With the world reopening and tourism bouncing back from the shackles of the Covid-19 pandemic, Zanzibar is witnessing an increasing number of high profile visitors, with renowned sports personalities also finding their summer comfort in the Spice Islands. Last Friday, former Indian cricketer and commentator Sunil Manohar Gavaskar was in Zanzibar.
Gavaskar, who is acknowledged as one of the greatest opening batsmen of all time, held talks with Tourism and Antiquities Minister, Simai, and the former promised to market Zanzibar as a perfect destination for world travellers.
Also last week, Nigerian striker Isaac Success Ajayi, who plays for Serie A club Udinese, also visited Zanzibar on May 30, this year for the end of the season holiday.
While in Zanzibar, Ajayi met and held talks with the Minister for Tourism and Antiquities Simai, who appointed him as Zanzibar's Sports Tourism Ambassador.
Minister Simai attributes the feat to the Royal Tour Documentary and tourism promotion initiatives taken by the Revolutionary Government of Zanzibar through his ministry.
The minister told the 'Daily News' that Herrera became the third celebrity to be honoured with the tourism ambassadorial role by his ministry.
"Ever since I became Minister for Tourism and Heritage, I have awarded tourism ambassadorial roles to three stars who are; popular Zanzibar artiste Siti Amina currently on tour in Europe visiting France, Germany, Switzerland and Spain. The other is Isaac Success who plays for Udinese and Herrera," Simai noted.
The minister was optimistic that the high-profile arrivals will massively promote Zanzibar and Tanzania's tourism industries, saying it is also a good gesture to support President Samia Suluhu Hassan's Royal Tour Film initiative.
"Many football players who visited Zanzibar recently are now sharing photos through their groups and Herrera has promised to do the same," he revealed.