ZANZIBAR tourism sector is facing acute shortage of skilled labour forcing operators to hire outside the spices archipelago.
A latest report ‘Skills Analysis for Zanzibar Tourism Industry’ pinpointed that over 60 per cent of foreign workers in Zanzibar are in the tourism sector.
The report commissioned by Zanzibar Association of Tourism Investors (ZATI) attributed the shortage to insufficient supply of skills from the local labour market—in terms of quality and quantity.
ZATI Chairman Mr Seif Miskry said the trend was an indication that there is a great need to develop local workforce to be able to handle tourism business operations in the isles. “Stakeholders must come together and agree on the way forward in developing adequate and quality human resource for tourism sector in Zanzibar,” Mr Miskry said.
ZATI commissioned the study after noting most of its members faced skills gaps, detrimental to their drive to grow business. The tourism sector is labour intensive since it employs a multiplicity of skills -accountants, hairdressers, tour guides and trackers and so on.
Zanzibar government and the private sector have been working together in a number of initiatives to make Zanzibar top destination of the indian Ocean tourism, as outlined in the Zanzibar Tourism Development Policy.
Mr Miskry said if this realised it will have huge impact on the people and isle economy only if local youth are adequately skilled to take the industry to the next level.
“We believe that our tourist attractions are world-class but the economy is not fully benefitting from their potential because of some hurdles, which if addressed, will be a game changer,” ZATI Chairman said.
The report, which was financed by Tanzania’s business, advocacy and dialogue facility, BEST Dialogue, noted that to develop a skilled workforce in Zanzibar, there was a need to define national skills development pathway.
The report said that in the long run skills development must be imbedded in the education and training sector but is also a function of the interaction between education and training.
To that effect ZATI plans in the near future to hold a public private dialogue on seeking lasting solution to the problem of lack of adequate skilled labour force for the industry.