DAR ES SALAAM, Tanzania (eTN) – Despite fears on global financial crisis effects, Tanzania tourist sector is optimistic it will remain stable and will record a good number of foreign tourists calling to the country’s premier attractions.
The Tanzania Tourist Board (TTB) managing director Mr. Peter Mwenguo said the global financial meltdown has not affected Tanzania’s tourism, despite fears raised by various stakeholders of future effects to the country’s tourism.
Although various stakeholders had reported some postponements by foreign tourists earlier planned to visit Tanzania in recent past months, TTB expects to see more tourists during the peak season in forthcoming months, Mr. Mwenguo said.
During the International Tourism Exhibition in Berlin last month, visitors to the Tanzania pavilion showed great interests to visit Southern and Western Tanzania tourist circuits including the game parks such as Selous, Ruaha, Katavi and Mikumi.
They were also interested to visit historical sites of Bagamoyo, Kilwa and the marine parks of Mafia Island, Pemba and Msimbati on the Indian Ocean coast, Mr. Mwenguo said during exclusive interview with eTN.
He said airlines flying to Tanzania were not affected by low flow of tourists, hence, bringing new hopes that Tanzania will not feel much the impact of the global financial crisis.
“Airlines flying to Tanzania have not been affected as they operate normal schedule flights,” he said.
Other than airlines in operation, new foreign and international air carriers are eyeing Tanzania as their new destination. Egypt Air which closed its country office in Dar es Salaam way back in 1994 will resume its flights between Tanzania and Egypt.
Qatar Airways, a new generation of foreign airlines flying to Tanzania, is also planning to connect Dar es Salaam and Houston in United States. South African Airways (SAA) is planning to add Kilimanjaro International Airport (KIA) in northern Tanzania tourist circuit in its Tanzania’s daily flights.
Ethiopian Airlines, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Emirates and Kenya Airways are the leading airlines operating daily flights to Tanzania while British Airways and Swiss Air operates between four and five flights a week, connecting various European cities with Dar es Salaam.
The United States is currently the leading tourist market source for Tanzania. About 60,000 American (USA) tourists with good spending visited Tanzania’s premier attractions last year.
United Kingdom is the second source of tourists visiting Tanzania where 52,000 Britons visited various attractions last year, Mr. Mwenguo said.
Other key tourist market sources are Germany, France, Italy, Scandinavian countries and other European states, he noted.
“We should not underscore this global financial meltdown scenario. We continue marketing our tourism and look at other sources outside the traditional market sources which have been much hit by the ongoing financial meltdown,” he said. “South East Asia, India, China, Russia, the Middle East, as well as other African countries will be priority new tourist markets to explore.”
“We are also working seriously to promote other tourist attractions which are abundantly available in Tanzania, other than traditional attractions made up of wildlife and Mount Kilimanjaro. These are the pristine beaches, cultural heritage sites, bird-watching, sports and conference tourism and the widespread natural sceneries available almost in every corner of Tanzania,” he added.
Before the end of this year, he said, Tanzania will observe two tourist events. One is the 50th anniversary of the milestone discovery in history of mankind – the sighting of the skull believed to be of the earliest man on Earth, the Zinjathropus boisei and two is the International Diaspora Trail Conference to be held in Dar es Salaam and Zanzibar.
Speaking of the two events, Mr. Mwenguo said Tanzania will invite various tourist stakeholders to celebrate 50 years of “Zinjathropus boisei” that was discovered in 1959 by world’s famous archaeologists, Dr. Louis Leakey and his wife Mary at Olduvai Gorge inside Ngorongoro Conservation Area. The event will take place in July.
In October, Tanzania will host the first African conference on Diaspora, that will bring together over 200 Africans living outside their continent as descendants of African slaves shipped to America, Europe and other countries during the past 300 or more years.