Dar es Salaam – Tanzania said it would look after hundreds of Ukrainian tourists stranded in its Indian Ocean archipelago of Zanzibar after Ukraine closed its airspace to civilian flights following Russia’s invasion.
Nearly 1 000 tourists from Ukraine were staying at different hotels in the semi-autonomous region, Zanzibar’s Tourism Minister Lela Mohammed Mussa said on Monday.
Meanwhile in Zanzibar, the Ukranian tourists are seeking help because they can’t go back to their war-torn country. Just reminding our African leaders to take care of our people in Ukraine instead of pleasing the masters while our own people are unattended in that racist world. https://t.co/f9PkVzzs8R pic.twitter.com/p3SysDKsjo
— Nomzamo Celia Assata (@ChristinaMfanga) February 28, 2022
“The first thing we did is to ensure they remain where they are even if their time to check out had come,” Mussa said.
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“We let them stay in the hotels, and be served as human beings”.
Famed for its turquoise waters, white sandy beaches and spice plantations, Zanzibar relies heavily on tourism and before the Covid pandemic it welcomed about half a million visitors a year.
Russia launched a full-scale invasion of its Western-backed neighbour Ukraine last week, killing hundreds of people as air strikes hit military installations and ground forces moved in from the north, south and east.
Ukraine responded by closing its airspace to civilian flights, citing a “high risk to safety”.
The tourists in Zanzibar will be cared for and “given all the services, comfort and remain free”, said Mussa.
While Ukrainians are practicing anti-Black racism towards Africans trying to leave, about 900 Ukrainians were on vacation in #Zanzibar when war broke out. They are given money by the Zanzibar government and hotels are being told to cover their costs. https://t.co/jhpfqD0JZj
— Tariq Nasheed 🇺🇸 (@tariqnasheed) March 1, 2022
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Plans are under way to evacuate the tourists some of whom are housed in a hotel run by a Russian to countries such as Poland, the minister said.
“What is happening in Ukraine is making them extremely unhappy,” Yulia Baystrukova who runs the Zanzi Resort told AFP.
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Picture: Twitter/ @TanzaniaUpdates
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