East African premier travel and tourism fair comes to Arusha


TANZANIA, ARUSHA (eTN) – The countdown to the annual East African (EA) premier travel and tourism show with a special focus on promoting the EA as a single tourism destination to an emerging economy of Asia has begun.

The EA partner states are targeting a slice of the 90 million Asian tourists expected to travel abroad this year and spend a staggering US$86 billion in 2011.

Karibu Travel and Tourism Fair (KTTF), the second largest show on the African continent after INDABA in South Africa, is registered with the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).

The fair will run from June, 3-5 2011 in Tanzania’s northern safari capital of Arusha. The KTTF is expected to attract more than 7,500 visitors from EA partner states, South Africa, China, the US, and Europe.

Organizers are buoyant that this year’s exhibitors will also eclipse last year’s record of 250, in spite of an international tourism market subdued by the US travel advisory following the killing of Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in Pakistan.

“Nearly 300 exhibitors are anticipated to take part in this year’s fair, along with media and thousands of regional and international visitors,” said Tanzania Association of Tour Operators (TATO) Executive Secretary Mr. Mustapha Akuunay.

The KTTF will draw participants from several Asian, European, and US countries. From the African continent, exhibitors will come from Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Malawi, South Africa, Seychelles, Zimbabwe, DRC Congo, and the host, Tanzania.

With little more than 2 weeks to go to KTTF, which takes place at the Magereza Open grounds near Arusha Airport, so much anticipation and excitement is building up to this event that some have called it “the most significant show ever.”

According to Mr. Akuunay, the first day of KTTF will be exclusively for the travel trade, while the second day will be open to the general public to interact with exhibitors and delegates.

The last day will be especially for trade visitors and travel writers with entertainment, sky diving, and business exchange.

EA: single destination
This year, the KTTF fair focuses its attention firmly on marketing the EA as a single tourist destination, an initiative that, along with others, puts the show in an enviable, and potentially enormously lucrative, position.

The major objective of 10-year-old KTTF is to raise the regional profile by promoting EA tourism to the global market and to bring all key industry players in EA together in one place, at one time.

The fair also aims to create opportunities for international visitors and overseas tour agents to meet and network with members of the EA tourism industry; bring new destinations, facilities, and products to the attention of overseas tour agents; and facilitate opportunities for overseas tour agents to visit the national parks and properties.

Tanzania Tourist Board’s senior Public Relations officer Geofrey Tengeneza said, “Tanzania is very proud that the KTTF, what started as a modest initiative, has evolved into a major travel industry showcase for all the East African destinations.”

Part of the uniqueness and excitement of the KTTF is that it is an outdoor event that offers a real safari experience.

“Since America continues to be EA’s number-one source market for tourists, we are making a special effort to attract more travel agents from the US market,” KTTF Operations Officer Bonaventure Bernard told eTurboNews.

The Karibu fair in Swahili, meaning “welcome” travel show is operating under the umbrella of Natural Resources and Tourism Ministry, the state-run-marketing board, Tanzania Tourist Board (TTB), and the Tanzania Association of Tour Operators (TATO).

For the past ten years, KTTF has generated direct spending in the local economy, created direct and indirect employment by assisting development of small and medium enterprises, built alliances with neighboring EA partner states, and brought together key tourism stakeholders through combined efforts to promote regional tourism.