ZANZIBAR: THE State University of Zanzibar (SUZA) has conferred President Samia Suluhu Hassan with Honorary Doctorate Degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Tourism Management and Marketing (honoris causa) following her immense contribution in uplifting the country’s economy through tourism sector.
Presenting Dr Samia’s biography, SUZA Vice-Chancellor for Academics, Research and Consultancy, Dr Ali Makame Ussi pointed out that President Samia was being awarded the honorary degree in line with SUZA honorary degree regulations of 1999.
The regulations empower the university’s governing council and senate to award the highest degree to a person who meets the stipulated criteria, such as making a major contribution to education and using knowledge to address challenges facing the society.
SUZA Chancellor Dr Hussein Ali Mwinyi conferred the honorary degree to Dr Samia during the 19th SUZA’s graduation ceremony held in Zanzibar yesterday.
Dr Ussi said that soon after assuming power, President Samia made the Royal Tour film which was launched in April 2022.
“Royal Tour documentary is a strategic plan aimed at showing the world various economic opportunities available in Tanzania Mainland and Zanzibar especially in tourism sector and investment” he said.
However, he said that the Covid 19 pandemic affected the economy of many countries in the world, including developing countries such as Zanzibar.
“Zanzibar, being part of Tanzania, was affected to a large extent and led to many people being laid off due to lack of tourists as many countries closed their entry and exit points,” he said.
Dr Ussi added that the pandemic led to the decline of tourism activities, severely impacting Zanzibar economy. The sector contributes immensely on the Isles’ economy.
Moreover, Dr Ussi said that the Royal Tour programme brought great success in increasing the number of tourists who visited Tanzania. Figures show the number of tourists increased from 922,692 in 2021 to 1, 454,920 in 2022 equivalent to the increase of 57.7 per cent.
“In Zanzibar the number of tourists increased to 548,503 tourists in 2022 which is an increase of 39.1 per cent compared to 394,185 tourists who visited Zanzibar in 2021,” he said.
Dr Ussi said that from January to November 2023, the total number of tourists who entered Zanzibar reached 568,312 which is an increase of 18 per cent compared to the tourists who visited Zanzibar from January to October 2022.
He said that Dr Samia’s efforts to strengthen the tourism sector in the country have yielded fruits as the country became the second country in Africa among the countries visited by the most tourists after the Covid-19 pandemic after Ethiopia, according to the UNWTO World Tourism Barometer from January to December 2023.
“This situation has led to an increase in income from tourism by 93.3 per cent and an increase in production opportunities for the Tanzanian community,” he said.
Similarly, he said that due to the contribution of tourism, the growth of Zanzibar’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has increased from 1.3 per cent in 2020 to an average of 5.1 per cent in 2021 and 6.8 per cent in 2022, adding that in 2023 Zanzibar expects further increased tourist arrivals.
On the other hand, he said that Dr Samia’s great diplomatic ability has opened doors of investment for various foreigners to invest in different areas in the country.
He also said that Dr Samia’s ability to manage major national development programmes has contributed to economic and educational reforms in the country.
“SUZA has benefited directly through the Higher Education for Economic Transformation project (HEET) where it has received 20 million US dollars,” he said.
According to Dr Ussi, the completion of HEET project will build the capacity of higher learning institutions to open many economic opportunities for communities including the tourism sector, which for Zanzibar, is among the main agenda of blue economy,” he added.
“SUZA’s governing council and senate respect and appreciate President Samia’s great contribution to the country and thus in 19th SUZA’s graduation ceremony we confer her with Honorary Doctorate Degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Tourism Management and Marketing (honoris causa)” he said.