Limerick entrepreneur Declan Hughes, owner of www.flycruisestay.com is trying to build a tribute to Freddie Mercury in Zanzibar. Following an invitation to attend the first ever Swahili International Tourism Expo in Dar es Salaam Tanzania. Hughes decided to not only go on Safari into the heart of the Serengeti, but also fly out to the beautiful spice island of Zanzibar. Hughes has a love for travel. Having travelled to over 94 Countries and islands around the world, he founded the one stop travel shop which is based in Limerick.
In 2014, while visiting Tanzania, Hughes fell in love with the country and particularly with the island of Zanzibar, otherwise known as The Spice island is located off the coast of Tanzania. Zanzibar is also famous for being the home of Freddie Mercury of Queen.
The rock legend however, Hughes discovered was not really recognized in Zanzibar. There was no plaque , statue or information on Mercury, so as an intrepid Limerickman Hughes has decided act and put a statue or plaque in his name on the island in order to promote the tourist destination.
In Hughes own words ‘I asked our tour guide about the lack of an official commendation to Freddie, and he replied that the islanders would simply not know who Freddie Mercury was. I thought to myself, a missed opportunity here since it is the international inbound tourist market that really matters here and not local domestic market.”.
Hughes then set about contacting others in order to officially commemorate Freddie Mercury on the island. He contacted the official queen fan club in the UK which is ran by Nick Weymouth from Outside Line (part of the Saatchi & Saatchi group). He liked the idea so much so, that they had a couple of meetings and now the project has received an official endorsement from the boys in the band Queen. The plaque is currently being costed to be manufactured on the island Zanzibar and hung either outside where he was born / lived in where its inscription will read something along the lines of:
Musician and songwriter was born here / or lived here
As Hughes himself told Limerick Company Blog, “Queen has over 29 million plus followers on Facebook, and as I saw it, Jamaica has Bob Marley, why not Zanzibar lay claim to Freddie Mercury? Due to the recent drop in the value of gold, tourism has now over taken gold as Tanzania’s number one revenue earner. As a result Zanzibar and its friendly native islanders are very much dependant on visitor numbers. By placing this plaque on the island to commemorate Freddie Mercury of Queen, it can only be a positive thing, Moreover, this year than any other, had Freddie still lived he would have reached 70, which ironically is also the 25th anniversary of his death. ”
Freddie Mercury’s House in Stone Town. Pic courtesy of http://www.sleepout.com