ARUSHA, Tanzania, Sept. 6 (Xinhua) -- Tanzania's semi-autonomous Zanzibar archipelago will upgrade Pemba Airport to an international one so as to boost tourism, an official said Wednesday.
The move is also meant to improve aviation services in the Indian Ocean archipelago, said Mustafa Aboud Jumbe, Zanzibar's principal secretary in the Ministry of Infrastructure, Communications and Transport.
He said that the Pemba island is less visited than Zanzibar island, but is popular for having exotic and pristine white sandy beaches and tourist sites such as Jozan Forest Reserve, home of flying fox.
"For years, Pemba relies on charter planes and waterways when it comes to transport," he said. "We want to improve the airport facility so that it meets international standards; hence accommodate bigger planes."
Jumbe said Pemba has numerous tourists attractions such as unspoiled diving areas with very rich marine life, famous spiritual mystics, and physical healers.
He said the Zanzibar government has signed a consultancy work deal worth 1.9 million U.S. dollars with Dar al Handash Consultant (Egypt) Limited, in a new drive to improve islands-based airports including Pemba.
The work is part of a program funded by African Development Bank.