Zanzibar Declaration on Sustainable Tourism 


The Zanzibar Declaration on Sustainable Tourism is an informal statement of intent and a rallying cry for the Zanzibar tourism industry to take real strides towards sustainability, in support of people, planet and prosperity.

The Zanzibar Declaration recognises and contributes to global sustainable tourism actions adopted by international institutions and world leaders; this includes the One Planet Network Glasgow Declaration: Climate Action in Tourism with which this declaration is aligned, and many of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

The Declaration is in two parts: firstly, the Zanzibar Declaration text itself and secondly the Sustainable Tourism Roadmap including the five Commitments.

This declaration can be signed by individuals representing hospitality and tourism related business & institutions. It can also be signed by individuals that wish to take actions in support of the declaration.

We, the stakeholders in the Zanzibar tourism industry, declare that we support and will collaborate in the coordinated effort to make Zanzibar a sustainable tourism destination. Specifically:

We recognize that all segments of society, all industries, and all sectors – including tourism – must play their part in ensuring sustainability. This is not an immediate transition, but a long-term journey requiring a collective effort.

Globally, tourism has contributed significantly to pollution, biodiversity loss and climate change through degradation and destruction of local ecosystems, emissions of greenhouse gases, and pollution of land, air and water. For example, in 2019, tourism was the second fastest-growing industry in the world, producing an estimated 8% of global greenhouse gas emissions.  Along with natural wealth, traditional culture, customs and ways of life, indigenous knowledge, sacred sites, ancient ruins and historical buildings are also at risk from the rapid expansion of mass tourism and climate change.

In Zanzibar, tourism is a keystone of our Blue and Green economies, and it is this that tourists are now seeking – research shows that 81% of global travellers favour sustainable destinations – so going green is both a global responsibility and a market opportunity.

Under: Our efforts will:
  • Mitigate climate change by reducing our emissions of greenhouse gases.

  • Halt our destruction of biodiversity with which we share this archipelago, by conserving, regenerating and restoring indigenous ecosystems, habitats and species, and supporting other actors to do the same.

  • Protect, conserve and sustain the unique culture and heritage of Zanzibar, by preserving traditional knowledge and wisdom, safeguarding sites from natural and non-natural hazards and regenerate Zanzibar through cultural heritage.

  • Reduce pollution, including of solid, liquid, plastic and organic wastes.

  • Enhance the sustainable, and increasingly circular, Blue and Green economies of Zanzibar, further augment nature-positive tourism, by using and replenishing renewable resources, generating and supporting inclusive local value chains, and building local capacity, generating sustainable and inclusive local jobs in the Zanzibar economy, encompasing economic, social and environmental dimensions.


Over the coming years, we, the stakeholders in the Zanzibar tourism community, will collaborate to develop and collectively adopt achievable and meaningful Sustainable Tourism Standards, modelled on those standards already developed in Tanzania and internationally, as appropriate for Zanzibar. Adopting these standards will require changes to the industry and its suppliers, in some cases in significant ways, so we will take a learning approach to this process and share lessons collectively.

During 2023 we will inaugurate this Green Tourism Roadmap and adopt the Sustainable Tourism Commitments as set out below, identifying the steps we will take towards sustainable tourism targets in Zanzibar. It is envisioned that the commitments and targets will be reviewed and updated annually. 

Sustainable Tourism Commitments for 2023

During 2023, the first year of this effort, we will focus on the following five areas of sustainability. This does not preclude the adoption of other elements of sustainability. It is recognised that there are interlinkages between each of the commitments and that a cultural approach, increasing local green jobs, learning, collaboration and promoting our efforts with staff and guests are embedded in each. A technical group will be convened to support each of the commitments providing information and guidance as feasible. Each tourism stakeholder is encouraged to adopt at least three of the following five areas as appropriate to their operations. The targets outlined are practical suggestions, but other targets may be adopted by individual stakeholders.

1. Sustainable food from sea and land

As tourism stakeholders we will:

  • Learn about and use the Zanzibar Sustainable Seafood Guide and prioritise serving fish and seafood classified‘green’ or yellow’, avoiding those classified ‘red’.

  • Prioritise purchasing produce in season from local farmers and producers, especially those using sustainable farming practices (e.g. organic or permaculture)

  • Increase incorporation of indigenous vegetables, and traditional Zanzibari recipes and dishes.

  • Actively communicate withour guests about our efforts and sensitize our suppliers.

Tangible Target: At least one local sustainable food option is available and communicated to guests with every meal.

2. Sustainable waste management

As tourism stakeholders we will:

  • Coordinate efforts to increase action for more sustainable waste management in Zanzibar, including staff and supplier trainings, strengthening of reduce, reuse and recycling initiatives, decrease in waste of all kinds especially organic and plastic and actively share data and insights for building knowledge and action around this topic.

  • Make efforts to separate our waste and compost our organic waste ensuring that it does not go to landfill, a source of methane emissions.

  • Reduce our plastic waste and consider committing to becoming a signatory of the One Planet Network Global Tourism Plastics Initiative in 2023, involving among other, the elimination of all problematic or unnecessary plastic packaging and items by 2025

  • Tangible Targets: Offer plastic-free options for water and other drinks (e.g. using refillable glass bottles), adopt a food waste reduction program and increase composting and recycling.

3. Space for nature and restoring ecosystems

As tourism stakeholders we will:

  • Take steps to conserve and restore Zanzibar indigenous plants, animals and ecosystems on land under our stewardship, including the control and removal of invasive alien species.

  • Actively work towards supporting and adopting the Best Practice Guidelines being developed for Tourism Operation in Zanzibar Ecosystems in our facility construction, property development and landscape management.

  • Support local and regional initiatives to restore ecosystems and biodiversity directly and through promotion to our guests (e.g. the African Forest Landscape Restoration Initiative, AFR100).

  • Support the Zanzibar Commission for Tourism’s Space-for-Nature Campaign

Tangible Target: Train gardening teams to identify and increase indigenous plants and control invasive alien species in property grounds – aiming for an increase in wildlife, natural habitat and space for nature.

   4. Support local Zanzibar culture, knowledge and expertise

As tourism stakeholders we:

  • Actively work together with other tourism industry players, communities and the public sector to build awareness, strengthen traditional skills and craftsmanship and jointly find solutions for the protection and safeguard of the tangible and intangible cultural heritage of Zanzibar and its associated wisdom and traditional practices

  • Actively learn about, incorporate and promote local Zanzibari culture as part of our operations(within architecture, decoration, art, local history, cuisine, music, dance, crafts, boutique/souvenir sales, authentic tours promoted etc.), and promoting local jobs.

Tangible Targets: Increased offers of Zanzibari cultural tours, increase in local cultural elements on display in tourism operations and incorporation of heritage sites into tourism value chains.

     5. Reduce greenhouse gas emissions in our operations

As tourism stakeholders we will:

  • Learn where our main greenhouse gas emissions arise and take steps to reduce them.
  • Consider signing up to the Glasgow Declaration on Climate Action in Tourism  making use of the tools and resources

  • Coordinate and collaborate with other stakeholders in the Zanzibar Tourism industry to work towards emissions reductions and other actions for climate change adaptation and mitigation

Tangible Targets:  Prepare a preliminary emissions reduction plan including such measures as installing LED lighting and adopting a Dark Skies outdoor lighting policy (i.e. low-level, low-wattage downlighting and path lights to reduce light pollution). 

Disclaimer: As a signatory to the declaration I agree to be contacted by ZCT (and possibly partners) in the framework of setting up and implementing the Zanzibar Declaration. My contact details will not be share nor used for any other purposes than the Zanzibar Declaration.

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