The demand for Tanzania remains high and bookings have been brisk, tour operators all over the United States have confirmed.
Jo Bertone, USA director of Naipenda Safaris, has claimed that there has been no evidence of a travel slowdown when it comes to Tanzania. “While the media was filled with doom and gloom for the past few months about the US economy in general,” she said. “Right after the elections and the holidays we resumed normal-if not higher-quote requests on booking to Tanzania. People see that the sky isn’t falling, they know that Tanzania is a beautiful and peaceful country (we have never had a problem in any part of Tanzania), and they’re ready again for a good travel experience.’’
Ina Steinhiler, director of sales and marketing at the Boston-based Thompson Safaris, agrees with Bertone. According to her, sales of safari packages to Tanzania have been brisk. “No one is canceling or postponing for economic reasons. Were more than pleased,’’ she said. “People aren’t putting their lives on hold.’’
At safari ventures based in Florida, Rumit Mehta, director of Business Development in New York City, believes that many Americans are fulfilling a dream in keeping and/or creating travel plans to Tanzania. “In the last five or so years, safari Ventures has seen a steady growth of clients from business schools and universities who are interested in the intellectual and cultural heritage of Tanzania. There are more than enough value-added hotels, safaris and other attractions to keep them booking this.”
Lynn Newby-Fraser of Africa Dream Safaris said: “Despite the economic gloom there still seems to be people who are looking for a trip-of-a-lifetime and interestingly they’re looking to Tanzania for the experience. Our bookings for the 1st week of January 2009 are double what they were in 2008 and our website traffic is also up substantially. I think that people are beginning to recognize that the Serengeti is not only the undisputed champion for wildlife viewing and that the overall quality of safari available to them in Tanzania is nothing short of superb. I think that people just need to look at the 2009 Worlds’ Best Safari Outfitters as voted by National Geographic Adventures, and see that three of the top ten Outfitters-Africa Dream Safaris being one-focus specifically on Tanzania. That is a high percentage and says a lot about what the country and its operators have to offer tourists!”
“I think bookings are starting to pick up in 2009.From our standpoint, we are cautiously optimistic that I’ve hired a director of sales and marketing, and am increasing marketing activities such as the New York Times Travel Show, and more,” Kent Redding of Adventures in Africa said.
Amant Macha, director of marketing Tanzania Tourist Board, confirms that they expect to hold and/or increase market share in 2009 as a result of “the increase in hi-end accommodations to meet the demand of the luxury travel segment and improved air access.
Reacting to the good news, Tanzania Tourist Board managing director Peter Mwenguo said: “In a year when people are conscious about cost/value, Tanzania offers an excellent travel experience where the dollar buys much more than is available in other countries. America is Tanzania’s number one source for tourism and we are encouraged by the positive feedback we have received that this growth will continue even during a challenging economic climate.”