A special round-table discussion was held recently with Saleh Said, Managing Director, Pennyroyal Gibraltar, which is a master developers of five-star property Blue Amber Zanzibar, Tanzania, offering premium hospitality with leisure facilities along with private residences.
Q Please share more details about the project.
Blue Amber Zanzibar is the largest mixed-use development in East Africa. We are going to market with our initial offering of private residences which will allow foreign buyers the opportunity to purchase property inZanzibar for the first time in history. There will be a mix of five-star resorts, an Ernie else championship 18-hole golf course, and a mix of branded and non-branded private residences. The community we are creating will allow our residents and guests to explore and enjoy Zanzibar like never before. It’s a pioneering development and has been created with great consideration for the environment. The project will see the creation of around 1000 jobs in the first phase. Our CSR initiative – Best of Zanzibar is already active in the implementation of programmes focused on healthcare, skills transfer and women’s empowerment.
Q Could you explain the importance of the Middle Eastern market in the East African tourism sector?
The Middle East and East Africa share a long history of trade dating back to many centuries ago, thereby creating important ties between our regions. We share a similar culture and religion and are only five hours away from each other. Carriers such as flydubai offer direct flights from Dubai to Zanzibar and given Zanzibar’s benefits of perfect weather year-round makes for a great escape from the cold winter nights and blistering heat. For the Middle Eastern buyer and tourist, Zanzibar offers spectacular beach locations and luxury tropical island living within easy reach.
Q What the new developments in the area in terms of tourism?
We are excited to welcome the first Ritz Carlton in East Africa and hope that this would be a game changer whilst boosting the current five star room stock available in Zanzibar. The arrival of such a prestigious brand to our shores will benefit the entire tourism market in Zanzibar bringing in visitors from across the region and globally. Additionally, the introduction of our 18-hole championship golf course designed by Ernie Els will help attract a new clientele, allowing us to open the market to sports tourism on a scale never seen before in East Africa. We plan to host international tournaments and further develop the sport of golf by including a training academy. The development will provide the perfect getaway, catering to multiple passion points, offering a wide array of activities ranging from water sports, sailing, diving as well as golf, duty free shopping as well as world-class array of restaurants and entertainment.
Q What is Blue Amber’s role in the development of tourism in the region?
Through the introduction of international highend beach resorts as well as luxury branded residences providing five-star services, we aim to strategically position Zanzibar in the same category as established markets in the Indian Ocean by responding directly to the increased demand in the region. Home to the first duty shopping experience in East Africa, we will offer a unique holiday experience that fuses the authenticity and culture of Zanzibar without running the risk of overdevelopment, alongside world class amenities, leisure and luxury lifestyle. The Government of Zanzibar is a strong supporter of quality and strategic developments and Blue Amber is the first project to be awarded Strategic Investor status. This allows us attractive concessions and incentives which we pass on to our owners, putting us on par with neighbouring countries like Mauritius with regard to tax benefits further attracting investors, buyers and tourists to our shores.
Q Will you be working with the tourism arm of the East Africa/Tanzania tourism board? We work closely with Zanzibar Commission for Tourism and Zanzibar Investment Promotion Agency (ZIPA) in promoting Zanzibar as a secure place for investment as well as luxury travel. With a projected growth of 27 per cent for 2018, tourist arrivals in Zanzibar have been on a steady increase over the years. The estimated arrivals is expected to soar to one million passengers per year with the introduction of a new airport in 2020. Our development has been strategically planned to provide the much-needed room stock to accommodate these new visitors as well as creating additional leisure activities and facilities for guests, attracting an ever wider pool of tourists and making Zanzibar a competitive alternative destination in the region.
Q What is the expected number of visitors to Zanzibar over this project?
On completion of phase 1, we look forward to having The Ritz Carlton with 180 keys and Anantara with a further 200 rooms operational in addition to our private residences of circa 150 homes. The project will develop in stages and respond to market demand.
Q Are you expecting any investors from the Middle East region?
There is strong interest from the ME region in Africa. Zanzibar and Blue Amber are particularly interesting to these clients as the potential return and offering supersedes the neighbouring Indian Ocean destinations. There is a strong interest, from Dubai based buyers, in purchasing holiday homes in our private residences given the cultural nuances that we share, preferable climate and luxury leading amenities we will offer.
Q How do you plan to work with both the nations in promoting a reciprocal relationship between the two?
We understand that room stock is a major factor for airlines when considering routes. Our goal is to improve this exponentially, further opening up this tropical destination to travellers from Dubai. Our dream is to have direct flights on Emirates to Zanzibar. Visitors from the UAE are welcomed to our shores as they qualify for visa on arrival.