Tanzania: tourism industry welcomes President Samia’s commitment to the sector
Dar es Salaam – Tanzanian tourism stakeholders are now seeking an audience with the government to deliberate on current challenges and find solutions to unlock the potential of the sector.
Tourism was Tanzania’s main source of foreign exchange until recently, when it was hit hard by Covid-19 which disrupted economic activities around the world.
Tourism revenues have grown from $ 2.67 billion in the year ending February 2020 to $ 876.8 million in the year through February 2021, according to the Bank of Tanzania.
The decrease is due to the decrease in the number of international arrivals which fell to 509,773 against 1,553,686 visitors previously.
To revive the sector, President Samia Suluhu Hassan on Thursday highlighted her government’s priorities in the tourism sector, including attracting investors, as she delivered her first speech to Parliament in Dodoma.
She said that despite the repercussions caused by Covid-19, the government aims to increase revenue collection in the tourism sector to $ 6 billion by 2025 by increasing the reach of attractions, including conference tourism.
Tanzania Tourism Confederation (TCT) Executive Secretary Richard Rugibana told the Citizen that they received the President’s engagement with glee, as it showed his determination to strengthen the sector.
“The tourism sector has been affected by the Covid-19, as the number of tourists visiting has dropped dramatically, thereby affecting businesses,” he said. He said they are looking for a dialogue with the relevant authorities to share their experience which will improve the sector in the future.
“We have all witnessed that countries are currently vaccinating their populations and therefore hope that they will open doors and allow tourists to visit the tourist destination, including our country,” he said.
For his part, the Chairman of Local Tanzania Tour Operators (TLTO), Samuel Diah, told the Citizen that in order to improve the tourism sector, it was imperative that the government empower the sector by building infrastructure while tour operators and other stakeholders are investing in the sector.
He said there was a need to form a joint technical committee through the public-private partnership agreement to come up with strategies to improve the sector.
He noted that they are calling on the government to introduce new attractions like new hotels and restaurants.
âThere is also a need to strengthen existing facilities to meet international tourism standards,â he said.
Explaining further, he said there are currently plans to restore Arusha as a tourist destination that included using the city’s mountains and forests to start hiking trails to attract day hikes.
Additionally, he said using the Naura River to add value with stalls and infrastructure could allow tourists to use it as a trail during the day and rest along the riverbank in the evening.
He noted that they are also calling for the introduction of bicycle tours in the city and at the same time using the existing gardens to turn them into rest or recreation gardens for locals and tourists.