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Tanzanian president charts out golden opportunities in tourism

Apolinari Tairo, eTN  Nov 20, 2010

TANZANIA, Africa, Dar es Salaam (eTN) - Charting out his plans for his next five years in office, Tanzanian president Mr. Jakaya Kikwete said his new government will strive to develop and revamp the tourism sector, which is currently standing as Tanzania's leading economic sector.

In his most exciting speech to launch Tanzania's newly-elected parliament, president Kikwete said he appreciated the smooth development of Tanzania's tourism industry through aggressive marketing and investment strategies.

He pointed out that the number of tourists coming to visit his country has been increasing at a remarkable trend between 2005 and 2009, wherein a record of US$4.988 billion was gained from tourism.

The President, who will form his new, five-year term government this week after winning the October general election, told the Members of Parliament (MPs) and the rest of the Tanzanian people that his vision on tourism will be a priority in the forthcoming years.

With proper and wise use of natural resources abundantly available in this fast-growing African safari destination, Mr. Kikwete said he will ensure the optimum utilization of these resources to benefit the people of Tanzania, most of whom are living in poverty.

Tourism as a priority resource, he added, will be placed as a leading economic sector to be given good attention through his government's annual budget and also to involve private investors to take a leading role to ensure a high level of development of the tourist industry by adding their current investments and putting up new business ventures in travel and tourism avenues.

He appreciated the big role played by his government agencies and other travel trade partners to market Tanzania before major travel market sources and the promotion of tourist products widely available in this African country. The Tanzania Tourist Board (TTB) has been aggressively marketing and promoting Tanzania's tourism in various, leading global market sources of Europe, the United States, India, the Far East, and the rest of Africa.

Giving hope to travel and tourism partners, Mr. Kikwete said his new government will be fully committed to diversifying tourist attractions in Tanzania by creating and developing cultural tourism, scenery, historical, and sports tourism, while modernizing the existing infrastructure and creating a conducive environment to attract more investors to build three- to five-star hotels and lodges.

Tanzania is currently depending on wildlife and geographical features, including Mount Kilimanjaro and Indian Ocean beaches, as leading tourist attraction sites.

According to President Kikwete, Tanzania is currently in need of effective strategies that can be implemented in order to better utilize the country's existing resources, including the 1000-kilometer Indian Ocean beaches, to pull in more holiday makers (tourists).

The majority of tourists are interested in beach tourism and sunbathing, and these Indian Ocean beaches have the potential of attracting numerous foreign visitors wherein Tanzania needs to build more hotels along the beaches.

In addition, the President also indicated that, through the implementation of the current defined and other strategic changes, beach tourism could eventually take in more revenue within the tourism sector, apart from wildlife.

During his past five-year term in office, Mr. Kikwete campaigned for Tanzania's tourism development and participated in a number of tourism discussions and conferences organized in Tanzania, America, and several other parts of the world.

Other than tourism conferences and dialogues, Mr. Kikwete had invited a number of tourist investments for hotels and lodges, and officiated the opening up of new classic lodges in the Serengeti eco-system, Arusha Municipality, and Bagamoyo on the Indian Ocean coast, among other tourist facilities being managed by leading hotel chains.

With almost 45 million people, Tanzania is among the poorest nations in Africa despite its rich resources made up of abundant wildlife for tourism, vast land for agricultural development, and tourist attractivenes in its scenery.

The Tanzanian President has been on the forefront to develop Tanzania's tourism and managed to visit all the key and famous tourist attractive sites in Tanzania, including the world's best-known Serengeti National Park and Ngorongoro Conservation Area in northern Tanzania.

In recent years, Mr. Kikwete launched a campaign in major American cities during his UN General Assembly meetings in New York. Television commercials were aired on CNN, CNN Headline News, and CNN Airport, as well as, with the aim of persuading more American tourists to visit Tanzania.

During a tour in the US, he picked famous American businessman and photographer, Mr. Douglas Pitts, to be Tanzania’s Goodwill Tourism Ambassador in America.

Taking advantage of the eighth Sullivan Summit held in Tanzania's northern city of Arusha two years ago, President Kikwete campaigned to woo Americans of African origin, urging them to come to Africa to visit their ancestral lands on the continent.

In his keynote address to over 4,000 delegates of the summit, Mr. Kikwete spoke perfectly as a senior tourist campaigner for his country, telling the African Diaspora in the United States to come back and visit their lands of origin.

"Please come and visit Africa and invest in this vast, rich, and tourist attractive continent. Tanzania assures you of [a] good return of your capital and protection," he told the delegates, most of them from North America.

He said Africa needs foreign investments in tourism, and the African Diaspora in the US were in the best position to take advantage of their ancestral continent in order to invest.

Turning into an authoritative tourist campaigner, President Kikwete said Africa has little shares in global tourist gains despite the continent's rich attractions made up of wildlife, attractive geological features, and history.

Tanzanian president charts out golden opportunities in tourism

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