Fairmont expands African options for luxury travellers

New property on Zanzibar island allows travellers option to book safari-beach combination holidays.
Fairmont expands African options for luxury travellers
By Chris Jackson
Sun 13 Jan 2008 12:11 PM

The opening of the new Fairmont Zanzibar property last year has provided Middle East luxury travellers with new options for planning African adventures, according to general manager Tom Norberg.

Norberg said customers travelling to the hotel company's properties in Kenya were previously unable to add a beach resort component to their safari trips.

"We have five hotels in Kenya and one of the things that we were challenged with was the fact that we didn't have a beach product," he explained.

"There was nothing that met our expectations in Kenya. When this property came up we latched onto it quickly, because it is perfect.

"Customers do want to do five-days safari, five-days beach, or seven-days safari, seven-days beach, and we are now able to help them out. It makes perfect sense now to do a five-day Big Five safari in Kenya and then spend five-days on the beach here."

Norberg said the island's history - it has a long trading association with Oman - and culture were very attractive to guests from the Middle East.

"Obviously in a country [Tanzania] which is 97% Muslim we have a lot of respect for the traditions, so there is a Qur'an and a prayer mat in each room and an indication towards Mecca," he added.

"Every room here is part of a four-room block, so when we have a request for a large family we are easily able to accommodate them, because we can book those four-room blocks. We do also have connecting rooms, if guests want that, and we also have a duplex with four rooms, so you could do a minimum of eight people, and probably a maximum of 16 in this block that would be totally your space."

Once on the island there is plenty to do, from lazing on the beach or taking part in world-class diving tours, to visiting historical Stone Town or taking a tour through the spice plantations which give the island its unofficial name of ‘Spice Island'.

Qatar Airways and Emirates both currently fly to nearby Dar Es Salaam, but Norberg said he was hopeful carriers would start direct flights to the island in future.

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