NMB Bank said it has put in place sustainable strategies in ensuring tourism activities become more viable in the country.
Abdalla Duchi, Zanzibar Branch Manager at NMB Bank made the statement during a Zanzibar tourism stakeholders meeting held at Verde Hotel in the Islands yesterday.
Duchi said the bank is well-organised to provide financial solutions, with better currency exchange systems and card trading.
He said the move has enabled tourists to pay for goods and services, in partnership with hotels and some tourism companies by distributing Point of Sales (POS) terminals and also strengthening the E-commerce payment system.
“This because in Zanzibar and even in mainland Tanzania, tourism contributes significantly to the country’s gross domestic product, and in Zanzibar more than 80 per cent of foreign exchange reserves come from tourism,” he said.
Duchi added that this solution is an exciting and highly innovative initiative in promoting financial inclusion, facilitating payments by customers either remotely in the comfort of their homes/offices or at merchant locations without the use of a payment card.
He shed light on the bank’s understanding about the novel COVID-19 pandemic effect on tourism sector and the hotel industry, saying the bank is closer to their customers to endure the challenges have arisen.
He called on the Revolutionary Government of Zanzibar, ZATO members, and the people of Zanzibar to use NMB Bank since it is there to stay with strong systems in place to provide banking services.
He added that the bank is recognised by international institutions like EURO Money as the best bank in the country for eight years consecutively.
He explained that the bank is leading by profits of after tax Tsh93.3 billion, equivalent to an increase of 65 per cent (YoY), a half of 2020. The bank has also achieved to bring in new products and opportunities, including insurance service through more than 220 branches using QR code payment system as well as online banking services.
Ambassador Seif Idd, the Vice President of Zanzibar has called on the Zanzibar Association of Tour Operators (ZATO) to continue to make a concerted effort to promote and improve domestic tourism and to stop relying solely on foreign ones.
Ambassador Idd said it was important to encourage young Zanzibaris to visit various attractions as the world is dominated by networks and many know how to use them, so it is easy to distribute these domestic attractions in a short time.
He also said it was a duty to advertise the attractions and uniqueness of the existing instead of relying on people from other countries.
He said Zanzibar depends on the tourism industry tp boost its gross domestic product (GDP) followed by trade as well as agricultural activities.
“You have been able to represent the various government boards, and you have good cooperation with the Ministry of Information, Tourism and Antiquities, together you can advertise Zanzibar tourist attractions in Europe, including Germany, United Arab Emirates from 2008 to date,” said Ambassador Idd.
According to him, in 2019 tourism sector contributed Tsh833.4 billion to GDP compared to Tsh712.7 billion in 2018.
He added the country has lost revenues for about six months, which will lead to a decline in GDP and ultimately delays in development.
However, he said the government will continue to make a contribution to achieve various tourism activities in the country, while urging them to look into the possibility of promoting such attractions in other countries in Eastern Europe, Asia and the Far East.
He urged NMB Bank to increase efforts in executing transaction plans to digitise tourism services in order to prevent new infections of COVID-19 to workers and tourists in general.