Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete is up to see more Japanese tourists visiting his country through well-planned advertising campaigns in Japan through business and diplomatic channels.
The President said early this week that Japanese tourists have been coming to visit Tanzania, but in small numbers compared to other traditional tourist markets, while Tanzania has a lot of tourist attractions to offer to the Japanese folks.
Mr. Kikwete said in his farewell speech to the newly-appointed ambassador to Japan, Mrs. Salome Sojaona, that more efforts were needed to market Tanzania among Japanese people so as to attract them to visit this country as tourists.
The President said Tanzania has so many business opportunities needing to be advertised in Japan so as to pull in more Japanese business stakeholders and tourists.
He added that Japan is a big market for foreign products in which Tanzanian coffee has a good marketing presence.
Underscoring the need for more Japanese tourists in Tanzania, Mr. Kikwete told the newly-appointed ambassador to team up with other stakeholders to advertise Tanzania’s tourist attractions before the big Japanese outbound market.
Despite the good business link between Japan and Tanzania, the number of Japanese tourists calling in Tanzania’s premier attractions range between 3,800 to 5,000 per year.
Most Japanese tourists are mostly attracted to visit Mount Kilimanjaro, the wildlife, and scenery. Some are in favor of Tanzania’s rich cultural heritage including traditional festivals and historical sites.
Since 1998, Tanzania has been running tourism marketing in the key Japanese cities of Tokyo and Osaka. A number of pieces of literature on Tanzania’s tourist attractions were translated into the Japanese language for this purpose.
Tanzania boasts the three biggest lakes in Africa – Victoria, Tanganyika, and Nyasa – as well as Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest peak on the continent. Its 12 national parks, containing millions of wild animals, continue to be a strong draw.
In addition, the country’s 800 km stretch of pristine coastline along the Indian Ocean has been marked for beach tourism. The President has been encouraging more tourist hotel investors to develop the beaches and create more tourist business competition in East Africa.
Through marketing and publicity campaigns by the Tanzania Tourist Board, the number of international tourists to Tanzania has increased from 137,889 in 1989 to 627,327 in 1999, earning the country over US$733 million by the start of this millennium.
The number of visitors has so far shot up between 2000 and 2009, seeing Tanzania welcome 950,000 tourists with earnings of US$1.2 billion, as per last year’s estimates.
Tanzania is renowned for its national parks and reserves, such as the Serengeti in the north, the Selous in the southeast, and the beaches along its eastern coastline and on the Spice Island of Zanzibar.
Tanzania Tourist Board targets to make a record of 1 million tourists by the end of 2010 with earnings of US$1.5 billion.
Tanzania’s main markets are Britain, Germany, the United States, Italy, France, Spain, and the Scandinavian countries. Now, the targeted new markets are China, India, and Japan.
Until now, the US has been the leading source of tourists to Tanzania with a record of 60,000 American visitors in 2009, slightly more than Britain’s 56,000 the same year and Germany in third place with 45,000 visitors.