One of the main challenges to the development and expansion of tourism in Zanzibar is the perceptions of insecurity surrounding the destination. Security is a key consideration while selecting a holiday or travel destination, safety and security vital to providing a quality tourism experience. The success or failure of a tourism destination depends on being able to provide a safe and secure environment for visitors, more so than in another economic sector. Therefore, the most important prerequisite for a successful tourist industry is a reputation for having crime under control and guaranteeing tourists’ safety.

Safety and Security is increasingly the key issue most likely to have a significant impact on the increase or decrease of the number of tourists who visit the islands.

Guaranteed safety and security are prime considerations for all modern international travellers and tourists in Zanzibar. The friendliness of the people, and the relative absence of crime, or social and ethnic conflict, has historically been a key attraction for visitors. If this is threatened, then so the tourism industry potential to increase foreign exchange earnings will also be under threat, with potentially serious outcomes for the island’s economic and social health.

Tourism safety must therefore be given the highest, and on-going, priority - with the necessary resources of policing made available - in order to anticipate and nullify the threat.

Similarly, there is an urgent need for Zanzibar to review its legal frameworks and policies on security to address safety and security issues that might threaten the tourism sector.

It is with this in mind that ZATI have taken the pro-active step of commissioning this review to outline the challenges that current security issues pose and to make practical proposals on how best security organs and Government can deal with the problems arising from the current less-than-ideal security preparations.