By Ogova Ondego
Published November 20, 2011
Cultural festival organisers and representatives of government and business community in Zanzibar met on November 17, 2011 to discuss ways of promoting Zanzibar and boosting cultural tourism through music and other creative and cultural initiatives.
Opening the single day consultative meeting that brought together 70 participants to the Zanzibar Beach Resort, Seif Sharif Hamad, First Vice President of Zanzibar, stressed the importance of culture as a tool for socio-economic development.
Hamad expressed commitment from the government of Zanzibar to work together and support festival organisers to find innovative ways of securing funds for festivals in Zanzibar.
Yusuf Mahmoud, Director of Busara Promotions, said that when Sauti za Busara started in 2004, February was a ‘low’ tourism season in Zanzibar. “Now it is peak season because of the festival. Statistics from the Commission for Tourism show the numbers of visitors to the islands during February has increased by more than 400% since the festival started.”
Despite the contribution of Busara to the Indian Ocean island, Mahmoud said it receives little support from the governments of Zanzibar and Tanzania.
The meeting was hosted by Busara Promotions whose 9th annual Sauti za Busara Music Festival is scheduled for February 8’12, 2012. Other local festivals represented at the meeting were Jahazi Literary & Jazz Festival and Zanzibar International Film Festival.