Tanzania and Jamaica
Tanzania to borrow a leaf from Caribbean tourism
Commenting of his week-long trip to the Caribbean islands of Trinidad and Tobago, Cuba and Jamaica, Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete said his country has a lot to learn from the Caribbean beach tourism.
He said the Caribbean tourist development can provide a number of interesting and important lessons for Tanzania’s beach tourism in terms of performance, infrastructure and service provision to the tourists.
President Kikwete said Tanzania needs to invest heavily in its unexplored warm beaches, which stretch from north to south, covering almost 1,000 kilometers of soft sands and nature.
President Kikwete said when speaking to reporters in Tanzania’s capital city of dare es Salaam this week shortly after returning from Trinidad and Tobago where he attended the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting and a tour of Cuba and Jamaica.
He said Tanzania had an extensive coastline, running from Tanga on the Kenyan border to Msimbati area in Mtwara on Mozambican border, but remained idle with no viable investment to attract tourists.
The president said Tanzania has done little to invest in lucrative beach tourism compared with the Caribbean islands of Jamaica and Cuba. “I was very impressed by tourism in Trinidad and Tobago, Cuba and Jamaica,” he said.
He emphasized the need for his East African country to explore beach tourism potentials to add to the existing wildlife based tourist attractions which had attracted over 95 percent of over 950,000 tourists this year.
Tourism accounts for more than 60 percent of Jamaica's economy, making the Caribbean island among the best tourist destination in North America.
Jamaica, which has 2.8 million inhabitants, receives some 2.6 million tourists annually, mainly from the US, Canada and some European countries, while Tanzania with 36 million people with abundant wildlife and other attractions struggling to pull the one million tourists next year.
He admitted that Tanzania had lacked the best plans to utilize its Indian Ocean beaches, which could attract many foreign visitors, taking into account that most tourists are interested in beach tourism and sunbathing.
Tanzania needed to put up thrilling hotels along its Indian Ocean beaches, he said, noting that beach tourism could become an important area in the industry reaping more revenues than the traditional wildlife tourism.
The president linked the underperformance of the country’s tourism sector to poor infrastructure and services offered to tourists.
He said local tourism promoters needed to improve product branding and blend wildlife safaris and beach tourism with historical and cultural attractions.
While in Jamaica, Mr. Kikwete visited various natural and created attractions at Jamaica's Ocho Rios tourist hub in St. Ann region and envied achievements registered by the Caribbean country’s tourism.