Tuesday, November 3, 2020

France Tops in Tanzania Tourist Arrivals

Dar es Salaam. France has overshadowed America as the top inbound travel market for Tanzania since the latter re-opened its skies on June 1, after three months of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Data from the Tanzania National Parks Authority (Tanapa) shows France is leading, overtaking the US in terms of tourist arrival numbers over the three months of July, August, and September 2020.

The Tanapa assistant conservation commissioner in-charge of the Business portfolio, Ms. Beatrice Kessy, said a total of 3,062 French tourists visited national parks during the period under review, elevating France to the top - and outshining the US with 2,327-holidaymakers.

Third, on the list of key Tanzania’s tourist source markets at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic was Germany - with 1,317 visitors - followed by the UK with 1,051 tourists in the fourth position.

Spain, in the fifth spot, supplied Tanzania with 1,050 holidaymakers, trailed by India with 844 travelers who sampled the country’s bestowed natural attractions.

Switzerland holds the seventh position - with 727 tourists - followed by Russia in the eighth slot (669 visitors); The Netherlands (431 tourists) in ninth place. The tenth was Australia, with 367 vacationers during the period under review. This implies that France has not only cast a vote of confidence in Tanzania’s approach to handling the Covid-19 pandemic; it also becomes a true ally in helping the country to revive its tourism industry in a bid to spur other businesses, recover thousands of lost jobs, spawn and pump revenue into public coffers.

“We are grateful to French tourists for casting a vote of confidence in Tanzania as a safe destination. Their arrival plays a key role in spreading trust more widely, with benefits going far beyond the tourism industry,” Ms. Kessy explained. The feat has not occurred by default; rather, it was out of painstaking joint efforts spearheaded by the Tanzania Ambassador to France, Mr. Samwel Shelukindo.

“My office worked day and night with leading tourism stakeholders to bring French tourists: the Mount Kilimanjaro Safari Club (MKSC), Axium by Parker, and the Tanzania Tourists Board (TTB).

“We organized several meetings with tour operators and mainstream media to reassure them that Tanzania was a safe destination amid the Covic-19 pandemic,” Mr. Shelukindo said over the phone from Paris.

He said President John Magufuli’s stance to keep the country free from lock-downs - and to warmly welcome tourists - had boosted their initiatives. MKSC founder Denis Lebouteux said in most cases, French tourists have been flocking into Tanzania during low seasons when the country’s national parks and hotels are really hungry to fill empty rooms.

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Tourist Camp Blocks Wildebeest from Crossing Mara River.

The wildebeest migration is one of the greatest tourism spectacles that the Serengeti and Maasai Mara parks enjoy between July and October with thousands of tourists making the journey from across the world.


This year despite the outbreak of the Covid-19, this has not stopped the animal's migration as they search for new pastures. The wildebeest migration is one of the greatest tourism spectacles that the Serengeti and Maasai Mara parks enjoy between July and October with thousands of tourists making the journey from across the world.

This year despite the outbreak of the Covid-19, this has not stopped the animal's migration as they search for new pastures. But this freedom is being threatened after a video emerged of a group people believed to be workers of tourist camp in the Maasai Mara forcing a herd of the wildebeests to change their route after crossing the river

The water pressure apparently caused a stampede and an unknown number of animals are said to have died as a result. Kenya’s Tourism Minister Najib Balala has demanded the removal of a tourist camp built next to the Mara River which is blocking the famous wildebeest crossing. 

The video elicited reactions online prompted the minister to issue a statement. “I have discussed with Narok Governor Samuel Tunai, about the camp built beside the Mara River, blocking the Wildebeest crossing. It’s very disturbing and we expect the Governor to take action and have the camp removed,” Balala said.

“I have also insisted that we need a Maasai Mara National Reserve Management Plan, that will not only enhance biodiversity but also protect our wildlife migratory corridors, from greed!" The wildebeest migration which is one of the wonders of the world is an annual event that sees over two million animals migrate from the Maasai Mara to Serengeti. Nature lovers have called it the greatest show on earth.

The wildebeest after entering the Mara, head northwards towards River Talek, where they graze and mate every year on their journey of chasing greener pastures. From July to October, the wildebeests move between the western and eastern sides of the river, crossing it at different points, almost daily, to the Mara triangle side of the reserve, and back to the greater Mara.

There have been concerns over illegal tourist resorts in the reserve with animal lovers calling for their removal.

The Maasai Mara Management Plan which was supposed to be ready by August 31 is aimed at controlling the flow of tourists and investments into the world-famous reserve in a bid to protect its ecosystem, is yet to be gazetted.

The plan will see the government shut down some tourist facilities and issue permits to lodge developers in a more controlled manner. Balala had visited the Mara last month and said the plan is expected to preserve the Mara and reverse the damage caused by high human traffic and commercial interests in the reserve.

Friday, September 4, 2020

Digital Registration of Hotel Visitors in Tanzania Draw mixed Reactions

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Visitors who spend time in public accommodation facilities such as hotels and guest houses in Tanzania are now required to register digitally on the MNRT portal according to a new directive by the ministry of natural resources and tourism.


The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) conducted a monthly survey of hotel statistics to determine hotel bed occupancy rate in December last year, which showed that the occupancy rate was 53.8 percent.

Dar es Salaam. Visitors who spend time in public accommodation facilities such as hotels and guest houses in Tanzania are now required to register digitally on the MNRT portal according to a new directive by the ministry of natural resources and tourism. This, the ministry says is a move to get a clear picture of both domestic and international travelers.

However, hotel operators are worried that the system may have some privacy drawbacks on the part of some visitors.

“We have also read the advertisement, and we are only waiting for the right time when we can be better informed on what the system entails before we voice our reservations to the government regarding the system,” said the Hotels Association of Tanzania (HAT) chief executive officer Nura-Lisa Karamagi.

But, according to the acting director of Tourism, Mr. Philip Chitaunga, the system will treat privacy information as confidential, and that the government was only seeking to get accurate information regarding the number of domestic and international tourists in the country.

“Hotels that would be involved are the ones that receive tourists, and not guest houses. The Tourism Act directs this to be conducted for registered tourist facilities,” Mr. Chitaunga said.

He told the NCA yesterday when the paper sought clarifications on the public notice which states that the Tourism Act (No 29 of 2008) and The Tourism Accommodation Facilities Regulations (Amendment) 2019, directed owners of accommodation facilities to register foreign and domestic visitors through the ministry’s portal by October 1 this year.

Last year’s statistics released by the Bank of Tanzania (BoT) show that the number of tourist arrivals increased to 1.5 million in 2018, up from 1.3 million in 2017. The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) conducted a monthly survey of hotel statistics to determine hotel bed occupancy rate in December last year, which showed that the occupancy rate was 53.8 percent.

He said that, for many years, NBS has not had official statistics of local tourists, while the ministry has been relying on the information on park gates to various tourist attractions. There indeed are large numbers of people traveling to other parts for leisure.

“This new system will integrate all the systems of tourism institutions that fall under the ministry, he said - adding that “the aim is to improve our statistics so that we can determine the impact of tourism on the economy.”

According to him, the system will start in Arusha, Coast, Dar es Salaam, Manyara, and Kilimanjaro regions, which are the leading tourist destinations. The system will finally be countrywide. He told Tanzanians not to fear the system, saying that Tanzania was late in adopting the system, which has been operating in many other countries, across the world.

For her part, the HAT chief executive, Nura-Lisa Karamagi said: “We will know the good and bad aspects of the system after training for it. We work with assorted agencies, and they want their clients’ information to be kept confidential - and when they leave the country, it is deleted permanently. We don’t know how the system will work out as yet.” 

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Mandatory Quarantine for Tourist Returning from Tanzania Hurting Tourism

In Summary:

Whereas Tanzania has lifted restrictions on tourists, in some countries tourists returning from Tanzania are required to undergo a mandatory 14-day quarantine in their home countries something that tour operators say it is hurting business

Arusha. Local tour operators have asked the government to back their plea to foreign countries to remove a 14-day mandatory quarantine on tourists returning from Tanzania.

Some company owners who spoke with The Citizen in separate interviews explained that the requirement to stay in quarantine in their home countries is a major challenge at the moment. The executive secretary of the Tanzania Association of Tour Operators (Tato), Mr. Sirili Akko, said the restrictions were not good for the industry to recover quickly.

“We are very grateful that the government has done a very good job in the fight against Covid-19 and now tourists have started coming to the country,” he said. Mr. Shabir Mohammed said they, as tour operators, still ask the government to continue holding dialogues with embassies in European countries, the United States, and other places to continue marketing ‘Destination Tanzanian’.

“The method used by the Tanzanian government to fight the coronavirus pandemic is well known in the world at the moment, but there are still nations that do not understand us…. so there are restrictions on for those who visit Tanzania including a requirement for 14-day mandatory quarantine,” he said.

Mr. Mohammed said that is costly for them as they are supposed to stay isolated at their own cost. The chairman of the Tanzania Tour Guides Association, Mr. Emmanuel Mollel, said tourists had not returned in large numbers as usual due to the impact of Covid-19.

“Still the situation is not as good as usual and we think maybe in the future the situation could be better but if there are challenges, we ask for them to be worked on,” he said.

However, in ensuring tourists return to the country, the Tanzania Tourists Board (TTB) held meetings with ambassadors from several countries to tell them that Tanzania is safe. TTB managing director Devota Mdachi said they have largely succeeded in attracting tourists from different countries to come to the country especially after Covid-19 was under control.

Friday, July 31, 2020

Tanzania: JPM - Tanzania Safe for Tourists

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AS Tanzania continues to enjoy a growing number of international tourist arrivals, President John Magufuli has assured visitors that the country is safe from the Covid-19 pandemic.

The novel Coronavirus is still wreaking havoc across the globe but things look quite different in Tanzania, where everything, including social and economic activities, has long returned to normalcy.

The country has done a good job in controlling the deadly respiratory disease, with Covid-19 cases significantly reduced and most of the special Coronavirus care centers closed as a result.

And last month, the government announced to reopen the country for tourists under normal and regular 'pre-COVID-19' border rules and international travelers have responded positively to the decision.

Speaking yesterday shortly after a swearing-in event of the government officials, who were appointed last week, President Magufuli insisted the country was safe and urged tourists to visit the country's attractive destinations of their choice.

"Right now, there is an increase in the number of international airlines that have resumed their flights to Tanzania, bringing in tourists," said Dr Magufuli in a live broadcast from the Chamwino State House in Dodoma.

President Magufuli hailed the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism and the Tanzania Tourists Board (TTB) for continued efforts of marketing the country's tourism attractions and putting in place all preventive measures against further spread of the pandemic, in line with ensuring the safety of all tourists.

"TTB under the chairmanship of Judge (Rtd), Thomas Mihayo has put a lot of efforts that are now paying off, this is a good spirit that all of us would want to see," acknowledged the head of state.

"Tanzania is safe, that is why now there is no one who has put on facemask here, this is really encouraging," added the Head of State.

Among officials who were sworn in yesterday was the Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism, Dr. Aloyce Nzuki and the Deputy Permanent Secretary, Dr. Allan Kijazi, who is also the Director-General of Tanzania National Parks Authority (TANAPA).

During his speech, Dr. Magufuli instructed the duo to work hard, putting the national interest ahead of everything, as their docket is among the key drivers of the country's economy.

The Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism, Dr. Hamisi Kigwangalla said in Dar es Salaam recently that currently, there are three airlines coming to Tanzania, naming them as Qatar, Ethiopian, and KLM Royal Dutch passenger flights, which resumed operations on July 1 this year.

"At the beginning, Qatar Airways was flying to Dar es Salaam three times a week, but now it has resumed weekly flights and it flies to Zanzibar four times a week," he added.

The minister further said that more airlines including Swiss Air and Emirates have also pledged to resume operations any time and this will increase the flow of visitors.

Dr. Kigwangalla was speaking at the opening of Covid-19 Preparedness and Response to aviation stakeholders meeting held at Julius Nyerere International Airport (JNIA) and funded by the Federal Republic of Germany.

He said the government came up with the guidelines to protect both the public and visitors from the Covid-19 pandemic as it reopened its airspace.

"I call upon aviation stakeholders especially staff working at the major airports to observe the Standard Operating Procedures (SOP)...you should not relax, because some of the visitors are coming with fear and stress, thus youth should build their trust and confidence by showing them how the country is serious in observing the required international standards," Dr. Kigwangalla said.

Friday, July 24, 2020

Tanzania Hunts for Tourist Hotel Investors in its new Capital

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Tanzania government had set open investment space for high-class hotels in the new capital city Dodoma, targeting to attract international visitors and investors to the new capital, lacking reliable and adequate accommodation facilities.

The new capital city of Tanzania is lacking hotels with prestigious standards to accommodate diplomats, international business executives, and high-ranking officials touring the city for business, political and diplomatic gatherings.

Despite its current status, Dodoma has been developed with only three hotels of the Three Star Class. These are Fantasy Village (22 rooms), Nashera Hotel (52 rooms), and Dodoma Hotel (91 rooms).

Deputy Minister for Natural Resources Mr. Constantine Kanyasu had admitted to seeing the new capital city of Tanzania lacking international, Five Star hotels. Kanyasu said the government is now attracting investments in hotels, aiming to raise the status of the new capital.

Dodoma city has only 428 rooms in its 24 hotels offering standard accommodation of a Three Star Class. Kanyasu said that the government had allocated areas for construction of hotels and other tourist service facilities, aiming to raise the status of the new capital city of Tanzania.

Tanzania government had relocated its entire administrative political and government services to Dodoma with all ministries and key departments. Dar es Salaam, now Tanzania’s commercial city is the leading capital with 242 hotels of international standards, ranging from three to Five Star class.

There are 177 hotels rated One to Three Star Class, 31 Four Star Class, and 19 Five Star Class, all established in Dar es Salaam with about 24,000 rooms.

Tanzania is now targeting Conference and Meeting tourism to attract more visitors.

Currently, under implementation, Tanzania Tourist Board (TTB) has targeted to attract conferences and business visitors to hold international conferences in Tanzania, aiming to pull participants who would book hotels, mostly in Dar es Salaam, Arusha and other cities including the new capital, Dodoma.

The Ministry of Tourism is working jointly with TTB to attract conferences and events to take place in Tanzania where participants would book hotels then attract more investments in the hotel industry to increase the number of bedrooms and conference facilities.

The Arusha International Conference Centre (AICC) and the Julius Nyerere International Convention Centre in Dar es salaam are the two leading conference centers in Tanzania with capacities to hold several meetings at the same time. AICC has 10 meeting rooms with a seating capacity from 10 in the break-out rooms to 1,350 delegates in the main auditorium. The average total occupancy for all the meeting rooms when in use is about 2,500 delegates.

The Centre hosts an average of 100 meetings each year with a total average number of 11,000 conference delegates per year, mostly local meetings organized by the Tanzania government.

Regionally, Rwanda and South Africa have been rated the leading African nations in conference tourism with Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) and the East African Community (EAC) blocs

Situated in the heart of Tanzania, Dodoma is the official capital of Tanzania. It has a population of over 400,000 people making it the fourth largest city in Tanzania and it is home to the country’s parliament. The city stands on the Great North Road that connects Cape Town in South Africa to Cairo in Egypt, famous for tourists driving from the southern point of Africa to the northern point of the continent.

Closer to Tanzania’s leading northern Tanzania tourist circuit and the Kenyan tourist capital Nairobi, Dodoma has been identified as a sleeping tourist investment area. Dodoma has a rich agricultural society and a budding wine industry, with small-scale farming being most dominant in the city. The sun-bathed landscape is impressive with a Safari feel to it. It has an abundance of sunshine all year round making worth a holiday breathtaking.

Lion Rock, an outcrop perching in the city outskirts, creating a beautiful natural attraction that brings memories of the famous cartoon, the Lion King. The rock gives an elevated view of Dodoma and is quite a breathtaking attraction. It is a favorite destination for families and friends.