DAR ES SALAAM, Tanzania (eTN) – With the growing number of tourists currently visiting Tanzania, there is a great demand for beds to cope with the visitors in northern, coastal, and southern tourist circuits.
Tanzania president Mr. Jakaya Kikwete said his country needs more hotels of high-class caliber to cater to the increasing tourists visiting the world-renowned wildlife parks of Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater, Mount Kilimanjaro, the Indian Ocean beaches, the southern and western parts of Tanzania.
He said thousands of tourists visiting or transiting through Arusha on their way to and from the world renowned game parks and Mount Kilimanjaro need more tourist-class accommodations.
In his remarks to open the 178-room Mount Meru Hotel, which underwent renovation at the cost of US$24 million, Mr. Kikwete said this leading hotel in northern Tanzania would add a glory in the area.
The hotel, once owned by the government of Tanzania, was privatized to a local company five years ago. It is located in Arusha city, Tanzania’s tourist hub and a linking center to other Eastern and Southern Africa safari destinations.
The president said with the opening of the National College of Tourism next year, Tanzania would manage to train hotel and tourism professionals with international service standards to work in hotels and the hospitality industry.
President Kikwete, however, said Tanzania has achieved a tourist growth rate of 12 percent for the last four years, making its one of the fastest-growing sectors, contributing 17.2 percent of Tanzania’s gross domestic product and 41.7 percent of foreign currency earnings in the last five years.
He said Tanzania earned US$4.988 billion from the tourism sector in the last four years.
“There are still great prospects for expansion and growth in this sector. There is a huge demand for more hotels, more trucks, more restaurants, more local and international flights, and more tour operators,” Tanzanian president told the tourist industry players.
Tourism minister Mr. Ezekiel Maige said Tanzania needs more hotels to cope with the growing demands for tourist accommodation and recreational services in a competitive standards, as the number of tourists visiting this African destination grows to touch a million mark by end of this year.
Tanzania needs more hotels in upcoming, new tourist sites including cultural tourist spots in villages surrounding Mount Kilimanjaro, the Usambara mountains, Indian Ocean coastal beaches, and the Southern Tanzania’s tourist circuit.
Right now, Mr. Maige said, Tanzania needs an additional 3,000 rooms in the short term, at least, to arrest the current situation.