Tourism leads Tanzania’s economy
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DAR ES SALAAM, Tanzania (eTN) – Growing at a steady rate for the past seven years, Tanzania’s tourism is booming to become the country’s leading foreign income earner with nearly triple the incomes accrued from agriculture, which has dropped its earning in recent years.
According to the Governor of the Bank of Tanzania (BoT), Prof. Benno Ndulu, tourism earning this year is expected to generate US$1 billion, which is contribution to about three times the annual income gained from agriculture.
The newly appointed minister for Natural Resources and Tourism, Shamsa Mwangunga, said more than 750,000 tourists are expected to arrive in Tanzania this year, bringing in about US $950 million dollars with expectations to reach US $ 1 billion exactly end of the year.
“We attribute this growth to several factors, not the least of which is that Tanzania has a stable and peaceful environment with a democratically elected government,” she said.
According to Minister Mwangunga, increased air access, with many carriers now flying direct to Tanzania, new luxury hotels on the mainland – home to wildlife and Zanzibar beaches, improved infrastructure and tarmac roads on safari circuits are also major factors contributing to Tanzania tourism development.
The managing director of the Tanzania Tourist Board (TTB), Peter Mwenguo, said that improvements in tourism were the outcomes of the diversification of the tourist attractions and the existing allure of Tanzania’s unsurpassed wildlife, seven World Heritage Sites, the cultural richness and friendliness of the Tanzania’s people, miles of beautiful Indian Ocean coastline and the exotic spice Islands of Zanzibar.
“Over the last 10 years, Tanzania has become a stand-alone destination,” Mwenguo said. “In the past, many tour operators to East Africa offered Tanzania as an add-on or extension to other countries. Now, there is such a great demand by clients to spend their entire time in Tanzania, that the same tour operators offer more than one Tanzania-only itinerary.”
In efforts to attract US travelers as well as travel industry professionals in the US, TTB launched a two-prong campaign, targeting the US travel trade consumers in September last year through TV campaigns.
TTB marketing director Amant Macha added, “We have had a great demand from American agents for a Tanzania Travel Specialist program. With this in mind, TTB initiated a “Tanzania Travel Specialist” course of study with Travel Agent University. The response was overwhelming, with more than 500 travel agents passing the test and qualifying as Tanzania Specialists in the first four months of the course offering.”
Tourists have recently expanded their visiting programs to include the lesser known Southern tourist circuit to explore the world famous Selous Game Reserve and Ruaha National Park.
Ruaha National Park will be combined with the adjacent Usangu Game Reserve, making it the largest National Park in Africa, Macha said.