Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Africa’s first underwater hotel in Tanzania to boost tourism

Africa’s first underwater hotel in Tanzania to boost tourism
 The outside view of the underwater hotel room.

Dar es Salaam - As billionaire Richard Branson invests millions of dollars in the undersea adventure, while other global millionaires buy luxury submarines to sit on the decks of their yachts, Tanzania’s Pemba Island has become the first in Africa to host underwater hotel rooms.
The move comes as Tanzania, touted as East Africa region’s sleeping giant, overtakes Kenya in tourism revenues. A stakeholder in Pemba Island is taking offering leisure beneath the sea in a bid to cash in more millions of shillings from the rich.
Some call it underwater tourism, while others term it adventure in the sea, but it is now here in Pemba, thanks to Manta Resort that finally opened its plush hotel room beneath the Indian Ocean.
At the cost of $900 (Shs2.3million) per night, you can share your world with sea creatures, including fish.
But, if your spouse has come along, the cost rises to $1,500(Shs3.7 million) per night, according to details gathered by The Citizen, the Daily Monitor’s sister paper. The Mantra Tourist Resort Pemba becomes the first in Africa to build a hotel room beneath the sea
The facility has become an important attraction to tourists, especially divers, even as Pemba and Zanzibar islands seek to boost tourism after a series of attacks on foreigners and clerics in recent months.
Located about 250 meters offshore, the room is submerged 13 feet below the Indian Ocean.
The bathroom and a lounge area are at sea level and finally the bedroom downstairs underwater, where guests can see fish swimming around their room.
At night, spotlights under the windows attract and illuminate squid and octopus, a more reclusive crowd than the daytime sea life.
Undersea tourism has garnered attention lately, with plans for underwater hotels popping up in countries like the United Arab Emirates and Fiji. The unique experience lures travellers looking for a totally new type of vacation.
Room already in use
Efforts to reach the Manta Resort yesterday proved futile but website quoted the management as saying six people have already slept in the room since it was opened on November 1. Manta Resort opened on August 2008 with 16 rooms. The underwater room adds the number to 17.
Underwater rooms do exist in places such as the Maldives and Stockholm but the Pemba is renowned for being a great diving spot with a plethora of sealife found in the surroundings waters, according to observers.
Tourism is the largest foreign exchange earner in Zanzibar and Pemba islands. Last year, about 168,223 tourists visited the two islands, a decline from 175,067 tourists who visited the islands in 2011.
The entire hotel can also be raised above the water in event of an evacuation or for repairs, and should tourism go south in Dubai, it can be towed somewhere else.Drive Hot