Zanzibar Marathon returns to calendar

The long-forgotten Zanzibar marathon has been restored into the sports calendar, the Tourism Commission of Zanzibar’s official Ahmed Othman confirmed yesterday.

Beside the Marathon, all beach sports would also be restored in a new wave of boosting tourist inflows in the Isles.

Othman said the Government has already dispatched experts in Italy for negotiations leading into deliberations of the events on annual basis.

He said Marathon and beach sports would play a crucial role in maintaining a steady flow of tourists in the Isles.

He hopes Zanzibar would exploit the opportunity basing on abundance of rich crystalline beaches throughout its Indian Ocean shores.

“We have made the decision to restore Marathon and other beach games in an effort to increase the tourism inflows”, said the official.

However, he said the Marathon event to be re-introduced would be different from those events held in the past as more international figures would be dominant to compete.

He said the Zanzibar Amateur Athletics Association would be fully engaged to make a joint cooperation from the initial stage of the Marathon preparations.

The official said ZAAA would be in a good position to facilitate invitations to leading athletes from all over the world to come and compete in the Marathon.

“We are intending to stage the first of the Marathon events by next year as a step ahead to improve tourist inflows”, said Othman.

He said the President of Zanzibar Doctor Ali Mohammed Shein has been reiterating the need to prioritize activities that would attract tourist inflows so as to increase revenue collection as well as a source of employment to the people.

Zanzibar tourist arrivals have been on the increase since the Tourism Board has been engaging in taking part at international exhibitions in various countries that include England, France, UAE, Sweden, Germany and the annual Arusha’s Karibu Tourism Fair.

About 150,000 tourists are reported to be visiting Zanzibar on annual basis with a contribution of 25 percent of the Gross National Product that accounts to 73 percent of the foreign revenue collections.

However, a call has been made by the official for the Zanzibar Business Community to support the Marathon and other events as well.

SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN

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