VIDEO. The rush to Zanzibar

More and more tourists are going to Tanzania, especially to reach the sandy beaches and turquoise waters surrounded by coral reefs of Zanzibar. This archipelago in the Indian Ocean has become popular: it should welcome nearly a million visitors a year in 2024, including many French people seduced by the exotic destination and the relatively affordable prices.

But with this explosion comes challenges. Everywhere on the islands, concrete is gradually replacing coconut trees, with new constructions. A spectacular growth that allows many to live from tourism, but which has put underwater life in danger: dolphins, in particular, are victims of disastrous commercial practices, with hundreds of tourists every day paying to “go swimming with them”. The turtles have also deserted the beaches.

What future for eco-tourism?

Heaps of rubbish from the many hotels pile up in wild dumps, affecting groundwater and polluting water supplies. On average, a tourist produces two kilos of waste per day, a time bomb for the 800,000 inhabitants of the main island who live on average on 120 euros per month. Their quality of life has also deteriorated.

The preserved island of Mnemba has, since June 1, 2023, become a protected marine reserve and the 80 authorized visitors each day must pay 25 euros to enter. A decision taken urgently by the authorities of Zanzibar because the marine life, and in particular the corals, was dying because of the overcrowding of the places. It will take years to verify the beneficial effects of the measure on the ecosystem.

A report by Nicolas Bertrand, Fabien Fougère, Mégane Guillaume, Margot Chevance and Thomas Pham-Hung for Caravelle Productions, broadcast in “Special Envoy” on June 29, 2023.

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