Monday, March 23, 2020

Covid-19 Reality Begins to Settle in as Tourism Takes a Hit

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Arusha. Fleets of tourist vehicles grounded, empty hotel rooms and reduced international arrivals tell it all. The impact of coronavirus, a highly infectious disease now ravaging the world, has hit Arusha hard, the country’s tourism hub.

“This is the worst crisis to hit our tourism sector for years. But the worst thing is: we don’t know how long it will last,” lamented Mr Andrew Malalika, a tour operator.

But the director of the city-based Jackpot Tours and Safaris believes the government can still intervene and salvage the situation.

“The government can intervene by scrapping some taxes. This can enable us to manage the situation and restore the sector,” he argued.

He said tourist arrivals have sharply dropped because the major tourism markets for Tanzania have been badly hit by Covid-19.

These include the United States, the leading source of visitors to Tanzania, United Kingdom, Germany, Italy and France. A hastily-convened meeting of tour operators on Wednesday discussed how the tourism chain in revenue has been hard hit.

“Even if it (the disease) stops now, it will take a long time to recover. The best recovery plan is to reduce the tax burden on us,” he told The Citizen. Mr Malalika, who is a member of the Tanzania Association of Tour Operators (Tato), said he lost 16 clients last week due to cancellations.

He also appealed to the government to close the country’s borders so as to restrict the entry of people from countries most affected by Covid-19. Mr Paul Madinda, the general manager of the imposing Palace Hotel, said for the first time the eight-year-old hotel had no guest yesterday.

“We had eight guests who checked out on Wednesday,” he remarked, attributing the havoc to the global pandemic.

The 200-room hotel near the iconic Clock Tower is a favourite destination for business travellers and officials of the regional and international organizations.

Dr Eliamani Laltaika, a university lecturer, said although Tanzania has not closed borders like other countries, tourists still could not get in due to the lockdown in Europe.

“America is our major market but the tourists coming to Tanzania have to pass through hard-hit Europe,” he pointed out. The university don said Arusha, in particular, has been gripped with uncertainty because it is largely dependent on tourism.

An official of the Arusha International Conference Centre (AICC) reached said some meetings have been cancelled but could not give details. Unconfirmed reports say a reputable tour company has sent on a compulsory leaver all workers due to massive cancellation.

Others are said to have refunded tourists who had paid their bookings in advance as is the norm.

The East African Business Council (EABC), a regional organization based here is another casualty of Covid-19 which has been reported in three of the six states in the bloc.

It has called off the Industrialization Business Convention and CEO Round Table Breakfast Meeting which was to take place in Dar es Salaam on March 30 and March 31, this year.

Monday, March 9, 2020

Tanzania wins Best International Wildlife Destination

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TEL AVIV, ISRAEL - Tanzania continued to cement its status as among the world’s best tourism destinations after scooping the Best International Wildlife Destination award at the Outlook Travellers Awards (OLTA) held in India at the weekend.

The country achieved the feat ahead of its wildlife tourism rivals South Africa and Kenya, in OLTA’s 2020 edition announced in New Delhi on Sunday.

In his acceptance speech, Tanzania High Commissioner to India, Mr. Baraka Luvanda said the award will further cement the country’s status as one of the best global travel destinations.

“We believe that through this award and the Outlook Traveller Magazine’s, more people will be able to know about destination Tanzania and what it has to offer to a wide spectrum of clientele as one of Africa’s leading travel destination,” said the envoy in a speech posted on Tanzania’s High Commission website.

He told the delegates gathered at the high profile event that Tanzania will not be carried away with the feat; instead, take a lead role in marketing its tourism destinations as well strategizing on tapping from emerging markets from the traditional ones.

Saturday, March 7, 2020

Zanzibar now bans Italy flights as Coronavirus fears takes toll

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Dar es Salaam. The outbreak of coronavirus infection has already adversely impacted the affected hospitality and tourism sectors of the economy as most of the would-be visitors have been forced to cancel already-planned their scheduled tours visit of the country.

This is basically due to fear of contracting the deadly virus on their way, compounded by foreign or travel bans imposed by some world their countries.

Meanwhile, Yesterday, the Revolution Government of Zanzibar banned visitors from Italy from entering the Isles for fear of the coronavirus malady.

The directive was issued by the Health Minister, Mr Hamad Rashid. Several coronavirus cases have been reported in Italy.

Indeed, the government has have confirmed that quite a number of tourists, who were expected to arrive in the country during in the foreseeable near future - and especially with summer virtually just around the corner - and in the summer, have cancelled their plans on the back of the c due to Coronavirus threat.

Speaking on the matter, the Deputy Minister at the Ministry of Tourism and Natural Resources, Mr Costantine Kanyasu, freely admitted that the coronavirus outbreak of Coronavirus has bound to play merry hell with hit hard the tourism business, currently one of Tanzania’s leading foreign currency earner sector.

Mr Kanyasu, who I couldn't disclose any reveal the figures, nonetheless said due to the fact that China has banned its nationals from travelling abroad as a measure to limit the spread of the disease, is a blow to Tanzania’s tourism business sector in the country.

The permanent secretary at the Tourism Ministry, of Tourism and Natural Resources Professor Adolf Mkenda, said if the coronavirus disaster it wouldn't be contained soon, it will seriously impact ‘kill’ tourism not only in Tanzania but also across much of the world.

Prof Mkenda said Tanzania was set to participate in a tourism fair which was slated to be held in Beijing later this year. B but the organisers cancelled the event on account of due the outbreak of coronavirus.

Speaking in the Parliament in April 2019, Prime Minister Mr Kassim Majaliwa revealed that revenues from Tanzania’s tourism sector increased by 7.13 percent % in 2018 compared to 2017. This was largely thanks to considerable the increase in arrivals from foreign visitors, the government disclosed. Tourism and hospitality revenues reached $USD 2.43 billion in 2018 -, up from $USD 2.19 billion in 2017 -, while the number of tourist arrivals totalled 1.49 million in 2018, compared with 1.33 million, in the previous year.

Tanzania’s Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa said in a presentation to parliament.

However, hotel operators also claimed that the hospitality industry is bound to have also suffered due to the outbreak of coronavirus, which has already spread to some hit about 51 countries across the world - with, China being the most adversely affected so far.

Yesterday, the Revolution Government of Zanzibar has banned visitor tourists from Italy from entering the Isles for fear of due to the breakdown of Coronavirus malady.

The directive was issued by the Health Minister, Mr Hamad Rashid. Several coronavirus cases have been reported in Italy.

Ms Nuralisa Karamagi of the Tanzania Hotels Association of Tanzania (HAT) Ms Nuralisa Karamagi said the coronavirus outbreak which started in Wuhan, China, is already adversely impacting the travel and hospitality industry not only in Tanzania but across the world.just like in many parts of the World the break of Coronavirus has heavily affected the hospitality and travel industry.

For example, she said, that the total number of the would-be tourists, who had made provisional bookings to tour Tanzania during the summer this year has declined significantly compared to the previous year.

Ms Karamagi revealed that some of the hotels had s reported that a number of tourists, who had made provisional bookings in various hotels in the country ahead of summer, which is tourism high season in the country has dropped by between 40 per cent and 70 per cent compare to last year. This is undoubtedly on account of the coronavirus outbreak which was first reported in China towards the end of December 2019,

“The number of tourists, who had made provision bookings in the same period last year, the hotels have reported the number have dropped by between 40 per cent and 70 per cent due to Coronavirus threat,” said Ms Karamagi said.

To counter the adverse impact, Ms Karamagi said some hotels have been negotiating with prospective tourists those, who had already made travel-cum-hotel the bookings in Tanzania to push back their travelling schedules until the outbreak is effectively contained. She also advised the government and other stakeholders in the sector to do the same.

A former national chairman of the Tanzania Business Community, Mr Johnson Minja, said the outbreak disease has also negatively affected trade in the Kariakoo and other major markets in different metropolises.

According to Mr Minja, him importers have now shifted away from China and to India, Taiwan and Vietnam. However, he noted Mr Minja said that the volumes of cargo imported from that three countries are small and more expensive compare with similar to that imported from China.

“currently there is already a scarcity of commodities at the Kariakoo Central Market in Dar es Salaam because due to the fact we currently aren’t importing much from China due to the coronavirus outbreak,” he said, adding that this is something is worrisome as consumer that the prices will soar if the disease wouldn't effectively be contained soonest,” said Mr Minja.

Due to existing good travel links with China, Tanzania faces a risk of transmission of the coronavirus (code-named ‘COVID-19’), whose epicentre is the Chinese city, Wuhan. The disease has already spread so far affected to 51 countries around the world, and killed more than 3,500 people, while more than 100,000 people have contracted the disease, says WHO.

Monday, March 2, 2020

Green Dreams in Tanzania

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Africa has its own seasons. From November to April, while American and European families are donning winter coats and pushing through winter’s wrath, the great plains of the Serengeti are springing to life with fresh green growth on hardy acacias and lofty crotons and flaming red blooms on ubiquitous tulip trees.

This is called “the Green Season,” and it contrasts from Africa’s peak safari season, from July to September, in some dramatic ways – making it Africa’s “Secret Season” for the wealth of rare natural treasure to be discovered.

Tanzania is a land of Edens within this drama, bringing the wildlife spectacles to be found at Ngorongoro Crater and Serengeti National Park in the north as well as the Ruaha and Selous Game Reserves in the south. Lake Manyara, with scenery Ernest Hemingway called “the loveliest I had seen in Africa” remains as it was – a frame of exploding pinks against blinding blotches black stripes as flamingoes nest, herons light and zebra, wildebeest and giraffes cool off in the equatorial sun. Mt. Kilimanjaro looms in the distance on a clear day as the highest (19,341-foot) mountain on the continent and the tallest free-standing mountain in the world.

All of this is within reach of Arusha, fast becoming one of the top MICE locations in Africa. The Arusha International Conference Centre is a spectacular custom-built facility with the capacity to host up to 10,000 delegates.

“We are steadily preparing the country for the big time when it comes to business tourism,” says Arusha ICC CEO Elishilia D. Kaaya in an interview with “Arusha is home to some of the most acclaimed natural sites in the world and our center is closely associated with these amazing sites because of our proximity to them. We want people to think about these wonders of the world whenever the Arusha International Conference Centre is mentioned.”

The development of the industry in Tanzania will see continued investment in infrastructure and facilities with new conference centers developing close to the country’s main tourist and business hubs such as Zanzibar and Dar es Salaam.

For those who want to mix meetings with a magical immersion in Tanzania’s natural beauty, there is no shortage of luxury safaris that can fill the bill. Top names familiar to US travelers include Micato Safaris, African Travel, Collette, Globus, Gate One, Goway, SITA, Intrepid, Tauck, Travcoa and many more. They manage group travel, private travel, super-luxury travel, even jet safaris. Choices come into play for the level of luxury and lodging rather than animal sightings. In Tanzania, the Big Five conquests come with the territory.

It’s worth noting that the Trump administration made headlines recently with proposed new travel bans for six countries, including Tanzania. However as of this writing, the bans have not yet been officially put in effect, and only apply to certain visas for travel inbound to the US. And as always, before traveling it’s best to check with the State Department for any details about travel documentation.

Select Experiences. 
Access to Tanzania has been boosted in recent years by the return of national carrier Air Tanzania in 2016, which was able to establish direct flights from Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and South Africa. Travelers can now fly easily into airfields near Kilimanjaro and the other three national park zones as well as Zanzibar – the Spice Islands, all well worth the exploration.

If Tanzania were to delve into the top five reasons to visit, it might look something like this:

  • Wildlife Safaris: The great migrations, Ngorongoro Crater National Park that is home to the largest volcanic crater on earth with the largest concentration of varied wildlife to be found on the planet – and all this comes with the comforts and luxuries of five-star travel.

  • Beaches: The soft sand littorals along the rims of Zanzibar and Pemba are laced with luxury lairs that open to the warm Indian Ocean, just a stone’s throw from the medieval alleys of Stonetown where century-old giant roaming tortoises blend with aromatic cafes and notion shops.

  • Mountain Climbing: While conquering the highest mountain in Africa is always on the list, smaller mountains such as Mountain Meru and Lake Natron’s The Mountain of God also beckon.

  • Balloon Safaris: Gliding over the Serengeti at sunrise? Bucket list.

  • Exotic Foods: Dishes in Tanzania take on a piquant blend of Middle Eastern, Indian and Sub-Sahara. A little ugali, some curried fish, some local nuts and fruits and a lot of spices. Get used to the scent of cloves in Zanzibar.  

Top Resorts in Tanzania. 
Tanzania has been in the resort business for some 80 years as royals and celebrities found Africa’s wilds to be a regular interest, if not an addiction. These range from comfortable permanent tented camps with decked out quarters that include attached bathrooms, hot baths, libraries, even Internet, all on a remote scape where lions roar and elephants make occasional entrances.

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Embassies to help Market African Tourism in Tanzania

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Setting new plans and strategies to market African tourism within and outside the continent, the African Tourism Board (ATB) is now looking to cooperate then work closely with embassies and diplomatic missions across the continent to expose its rich attractions.

Speaking at the end of this six-day working tour in Tanzania early this week, the African Tourism Board (ATB) Chairman Mr. Cuthbert Ncube said new strategies to develop, promote and market the rich African tourism is now extending to various stakeholders including African diplomatic missions in each African country.

Mr. Ncube who was in Tanzania for an interactive working tour said that more efforts with new plans are needed to expose African tourist resources at the international travel markets to attract more global tourists to visit this continent.

Embassies to help Market African Tourism in Tanzania

The ATB Chairman said that African embassies and diplomatic missions are key partners in tourism development for Africa.

“Each African embassy in a specific country has a big role play in marketing tourism opportunities available in the respective nation it represents to the host country”, he said.

During his visit to Tanzania, Mr. Ncube held talks with the Nigerian High Commissioner to Tanzania, also officials at the South African High Commission in Tanzania; targeting tourism development and exchange of information and strategies to market tourist attractions in Africa.

“I had met officials in these African diplomatic missions to discuss on how best to make strategies that would promote international travel and domestic tourism in the continent”,

Ncube said ATB is now working hard to identify, develop and then expose the African tourist products at the international travel markets to attract more visitors to visit this continent.

Within Africa, Mr. Ncube said he had discussed how to develop a strong tourism base for Africans to travel within the continent, from one state to another state.

“We are looking to see people from Nigeria to visit Tanzania, South Africans to visit Tanzania, also Tanzanians to travel to another African state to see tourist attractions not available in their country”, he said. The African Tourism Board was established last year to work as a catalyst for the responsible development of travel and tourism into Africa. 

Friday, February 7, 2020

RIP 🐘 Tim 😢

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#TuskerTim! As I mourn the death of Tim, the magnificent Kenyan tusker, the constant weight of sadness I feel knowing I will never again be able to spend time with him, is incomparable to those who have watched over Tim for so many years. He was such a special elephant.

Saving the Wild’s partners Big Life Foundation went to great lengths to protect him, and that he died a natural death, and not at the hands of poachers, is a victory in itself. We must never forget that.

Elephants are extraordinary animals, intelligence beyond our basic human understanding, and deep emotional bonds between family members. We have so much to learn from these gentle giants who have roamed the earth for millions of years. As we mourn the death of Tim, as a community, we also give thanks to those who went to great lengths to protect and honor Tim while he was still alive.

Saving the Wild is committed to the protection of Tim’s offspring and the tusker gene pool, in support of the Big Life Foundation. Over the years and decades to come, we look forward to sharing many wonderful stories from the field as we watch the calves he fathered rise to be Kings.

“The only marks on his body were the imprints left by other elephants. Perhaps it was his companions, trying to lift him back on his feet. Push the life back into him. Tim is dead, and at Big Life Foundation we’re all in a state of shock. One elephant’s life shouldn’t matter more than another. But at this moment, this one does. As one of the biggest elephants in Africa, he was a magnificent relic of a bygone era when his kind was more common.”

"Tim lived a life that saw him become an icon for his species. Photographs, videos, and stories focusing on this grand old boy have been taken and told for years and with that, he has helped influence the world’s understanding and attitude towards elephants. He was a daily reminder that we share this earth with giants who are more impressive and far more beneficial to the health of the planet than we can ever hope to be."
- Sheldrick Wildlife Trust

“We will miss Tim, but we also hope that his legend lives on and he continues to inspire people to protect elephants. He has fathered many calves too, and we are happy he got to live a long life in the wild.”- Amboseli Trust for Elephants

Thursday, February 6, 2020

African Tourism Board Chairman to speak at Domestic Tourism Exhibition in Tanzania

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The African Tourism Board (ATB) Chairman Mr. Cuthbert Ncube is all set to speak at the premier domestic tourism exhibition, taking place from Thursday to Saturday this week, in Tanzania’s commercial capital city of Dar es Salaam.

Mr. Ncube who arrived in Tanzania Wednesday evening will participate in the official opening of the UWANDAE Expo 2020 on Thursday, before taking the podium on Friday to discuss key and pertinent issues in tourism in Africa at a special conference, that will draw key industry personalities to address participants and other visitors.

The event organizers, the Association of Women in Tourism Tanzania (AWOTTA), had confirmed the presence of Mr. Ncube at the conference to be taking place on February 7th, during the second day of the UWANDAE Expo 2020 exhibition.

Mr. Ncube will present a paper titled “Engaging and Aligning key role players in the tourism value chain to develop targets and result-driven partnerships:   Leveraging in the hospitality and light industry sector”.

He will speak at a special conference that was organized for all participants to attend free of charge, to discuss and deliberate on “Business, Investment, and Jobs in Domestic Tourism”, which is the theme of the conference.

The participation of the ATB Chairman would add vigor to tourism development in Tanzania and Africa, with positive input from key personalities in the continent’s fast-growing tourism sector.

The ATB Chairman is among key personalities with rich experience in tourism in Africa, and the continent’s position in the global tourism map.

The UWANDAE Expo 2020 exhibition will be attended by key government policymakers in the tourist sector, public tourist and wildlife conservation institutions, private investors, travel trade and airline companies, organizations and business partners across many sectors, students and the public from Tanzania and other countries.

The theme of this year exhibition is ”Recognize the Value of Domestic Tourism”.

To be staged from 6th to 8th, February, UWANDAE Expo 2020 is the second edition of the event. The first such event took place last year and highlighted the potential of domestic tourism fueled by the growth in Tanzanian’s traveling for health, sporting events, study, conferences, national celebrations, weddings, and pilgrimages.

The organizers have aimed to attract 100 participants and 3000 visitors, and anticipate extensive nationwide media coverage before, during and after the event.

AWOTTA is a newly formed association to attract and encourage women to take a leading role in tourism in Tanzania and Africa.

The United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) said in its reports that the majority of the tourism workforce worldwide is female: 54% of people employed in tourism are women compared to 39 percent in the general economy.

Tourism is leading the charge for female empowerment all over the world. Across the private and public sectors women are harnessing the potential of tourism to become financially independent, challenge stereotypes and start their own businesses.