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Zanzibar as a conference venue?

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Zanzibar as a conference venue?

Last year the wonderful advice given within these forums helped me organise a very successful conference in Cape Town. So - with 2011 looming, and with another conference to organise, I am going to once again to turn to the experts!

Basically I am considering a handful of locations within Africa and Zanzibar is one of them. So - please could I have some thoughts (good and bad!) on whether a) Zanzibar would be a good location and b) which venues/hotels you think would be best to consider.

Our event high level requirements are as follows:

around 60-70 attendees

want hotel accommodation and conference facility to be on same site

ideally with one large conference room to accommodate everyone and a couple of break out rooms

March/April dates

good on site catering

opportunity for a 'special evening' event/meal

This conference isn't a typical corporate jolly - so day times will be hard at work - but want scope to do something nice in evenings (2-3 evenings).

So - any feedback for me? Will also be posting on Mauritius, Nairobi, Marrakech and Tunis forums (yes I know - a bizarre mixture!) So if you have thoughts on those too, please take a look!

Thanks so much!

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1. Re: Zanzibar as a conference venue?

Zanzibar is a good place for Conference.

This will depend on the class of attendees.

The Best Hotels which will suite this are:

Ocean Paradise Beach Resort

La Gemma De`ll Est

Seacliff Resort ad Spa



Findlay, Ohio
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for Tanzania, Ngorongoro Conservation Area
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2. Re: Zanzibar as a conference venue?

You might also want to consider being in Arusha Tanzania for a conference. They have many facilities there for conferences. Then as an added bonus they could do a short or long safari after the conference, as this is the kick off for safaris.

There are some notable conference hotels there which have handled very large conferences, some being world class conferences, with many amenities.

Stanley, Falkland...
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3. Re: Zanzibar as a conference venue?

There are hotels that cater more for business than the leisure trade.

Consider also - the weather; (it may rain, and aircon may be wanted); and whether after going all that way, some people would also like to sample a safari while they are in Tanzania.

I think ZNZ would be a great place (although maybe lacking in nightlife), but given your wide range of venues, I think you might be better engaging a knowledgeable agent.

I mean, I've been to about 8 African countries, some several times, and I've also organised conferences, but never in Africa. So I, and I would guess most people on TA, have never had experience of how good or otherwise some hotels or venues are.

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4. Re: Zanzibar as a conference venue?

Zanzibar is tropical, meaning hot and humid year-round. Air conditioning would be a must with a large group in a conference room and though soe of the hotels mentioned might suit, there can be power failures with dependency on generators.

Unlike in a city as Cape Town, it can be very tempting for attendees to forego meetings to sit on the beach or be out on the water. I've seen this happen even at city hotels where there are services, i.e., a pool, that keeps people away from the purpose they're supposed to be there for.

I'd consider Nairobi in Kenya or Arusha in Tanzania, both cities well positioned to handle a conference. From either location, you can easily arrange safari activities for a few days "pre-" or "post-" conference.

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5. Re: Zanzibar as a conference venue?

In our experience Zanzibar is great for conferences under 100 if you need something bigger your options get limited. There are several different ways that this can be done, anything from exclusive use of a mid size resort to taking the appropriate number of rooms in a larger one. – depending on the configuration required. Naturally the larger resorts to tend to have more options and all the kit on site. Larger resorts also have set lists for various banqueting options, entertainment, equipment and breakout rooms etc.

I would try to stick to the early part of April or March if you can, the rains in Zanzibar mostly fall in May but could come early. – probably best avoided. Another consideration is travel. Naturally it depends on where everyone is coming from, again there are several ways with fairly regular connections into DAR as well as ZNZ. Should your party arrive into DAR it’s possible to charter aircraft compete with your logo on the side relatively in expensively as a bit of extra wow factor.

Most reasonable requests can be accommodated and loads of activities can be arranged, from various tours to dolphin swims for all or some of your group.

That said, Zanzibar is not suitable for every event – particularly those with unusual or very specific equipment/technology requirements. If you do decide to opt for Zanzibar it will be a fantastic event and I’m sure it will stand out as memorable for all the right reasons.

I hope this helps.

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6. Re: Zanzibar as a conference venue?

I think the best conference centre in Zanzibar around stone town is Zanzibar Ocean View, you can view through www.zanzibaroceanview.com. They have big and international conference hall and nice rooms also is very cheap and very nice service.



7. Re: Zanzibar as a conference venue?

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