Zanzibar’s government assures international community and visitors of readiness to welcome them amid Marburg Virus Disease (MVD) scare. The government has promised that the semi-autonomous islands are free of MVD, a viral hemorrhagic fever that can have a high fatality rate in humans. The announcement was made ahead of the “Green Season,” a period that falls within the warm, rainy months, when Zanzibar receives an influx of tourists from around the world. According to the Zanzibar Ministry of Tourism and Heritage, the islands have seen an increase in visitors from the United States, the Middle East, and Europe since the lifting of Covid-19 restrictions. The US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention have not advised against travelling to Tanzania and Zanzibar, and the islands pose no risk of infection since they are separated by at least 1,588 km of ocean and land from the Kagera Region on the mainland.
Tourism Minister Simai Mohammed Said stated that Tanzania and Zanzibar are adhering to the World Health Organization’s standards, and there is no cause for alarm. The government is monitoring the situation closely and has deployed rapid response teams for contact tracing and monitoring risk communication activities in the Karega Region. Tanzania has recorded only three remaining cases of MVD, and the virus has been contained. The minister emphasized that it is very much business as usual, and visitors’ health is in no way at risk from the virus.
The tourism sector is crucial to Zanzibar’s economy, and the government is determined to ensure that visitors can safely travel to the islands. In February 2023, Zanzibar received 65,430 international visitors, an increase of 39.2% from the same period in the previous year. As Zanzibar prepares to welcome its annual influx of visitors from the Northern Hemisphere and the Middle East, the government has assured the international community that it is ready and open for business.