ZANZIBAR CITY, 27 February 2021 – The government of the semi-autonomous island of Zanzibar has banned the use of unlicensed guest houses by tourists.
“It is high time such deals are stopped because they deny the government of revenue,” Zanzibar’s Second Vice President Hemed Suleiman Abdalla said on the floor of the House of Representatives on Thursday.
He encouraged all visitors and tourists to the island to stay or live only in official guest houses and hotels to avoid being complicit in tax evasion, but also and more importantly, for security reasons.
“Local people renting their houses or room to tourists illegally will also face punitive action,” he warned.
Many tourists and visitors to the island rent houses or stay in guest houses that are unlicensed for the services, often to avoid more expensive hotels.
Authorities on the island also slapped a ban on tourists and other visitors who are fond of dressing unethically in public places.
Abdallah said Tanzania’s traditional clothing and modesty were part of the dress codes tourists had to observe and respect while in the country, especially in public places.
“Inappropriate clothing can lead to stern looks from local residents and clerics, and also may lead to severe legal consequences,” Abdalla said.
Zanzibar’s economy is heavily dependent on tourism, which contributes about 27 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
With a population of 1.3 million inhabitants, the 600 square miles Island of Zanzibar (“Ungula” in Swahili) is a Tanzanian archipelago, lying 22 miles (35km) off the east African nation. A main feature on its main island, Unguja, is Stone Town, a historic trade center with Swahili and Islamic influences.
In 1964, Zanzibar along with Pemba Island and other smaller islands, joined Tanganyika on the mainland to form the United Republic of Tanzania.