Monday, June 21, 2021

Tanzania: President Samia Lifts Tourism Sector

TOURISM sector prospects look brighter owing to President Samia Suluhu Hassan's new approach to tackling the Covid-19 pandemic.

According to sources from within the multi-billion dollar sector, the country is now set to receive many foreign tourists, some of whom had earlier cancelled their visits due to Coronavirus protocols that have greatly affected the world socially and economically.

The positive trend comes after President Samia said her government would intensify measures against the pandemic while calling for precautionary moves in all spheres. Most importantly, the President's move to form a special committee to look at the issue and accordingly advise the government has been highly commended by tourism stakeholders.

Recently, the Committee presented its report to the President. And in the wake of the report, the Tanzania Association of Tour Operators (TATO) has come out to convey a message of great optimism, with huge confidence in rejuvenation in one of the important sectors in the country's economy.

TATO Chairman, Mr Wilbard Chambulo, noted that as the Committee led by Professor Said Aboud presented its report to President Samia at the State House in Dar es Salaam on May 17th this year, the tourism sector received a huge boost and it looks forward to receiving many foreign visitors.

In her remarks in April, President Samia said that Tanzania was not an isolated country hence it had to go with others. She then formed a Special Committee that looked at the whole issue and came up with at least 19 recommendations.

President Samia has also spoken about tourism in the past, saying that during the Covid-19 pandemic Tanzania stood out from almost all other countries, with the East African nation receiving many foreign tourists because other parts of the world were under lockdown.

However, President Samia insisted, it was necessary to assess the situation and come out with findings of how the country could go about in the future so that the tourists maintain trust in Tanzania and come back more. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has since welcomed Tanzania's Covid -19 Committee's recommendations.

WHO Regional Director for Africa, Dr Matshidiso Moeti, said this week that WHO is committed to help countries end the Covid-19 pandemic.

President Samia welcomed the recommendation of the Special Committee to intensify Tanzania's response to the Covid- 19 pandemic. However, the president warned that the country would not be receiving everything brought to it.

TATO's Chambulo said that the report has had a great and positive effect in the sector that has been widely affected worldwide, noting that there are good tourism business prospects now, adding that what is pertinent now is the implementation of what is included in the report.

"You know, when the report was out, we had time to share it with our foreign tourist agents in different countries and it was like opening them up again and restoring trust in us, trust in Tanzania, so the bookings are now on and they will be flocking in," said Mr Chambulo.

Mr Chambulo said the report has been issued at an opportune time as Tanzania is gearing towards tourism season (high season) this June that goes on until sometime in October and beyond.

TATO Board of Directors' member Ms Francisca Masika noted that tourists making bookings are the ones who had cancelled or postponed their visits during the Covid-19 stretch.

"Those who had cancelled or postponed their tourism in Tanzania due to Covid-19 are now back in the booking records; they have decided to come to Tanzania.

They contacted us and said that now we are in the right direction and they are ready to come. We commend President Samia for her right moves," said Ms Masika.

The high season is normally from June to October when wildlife viewing is generally at its best.

The wildebeest migration in the Serengeti is usually during June and July and the time to see the wildebeest calving is from late January to February. The southern and western circuit parks are best visited during the dry season (June to October), unlike the more popular northern circuit parks that can be visited all year round.

Thursday, April 29, 2021

Tanzania: Tourism Industry Excited About President Samia's Pledge On the Sector


Dar es Salaam — Tanzanian tourism stakeholders are now seeking an audience with the government to deliberate current challenges and find solutions to unlock the potentials of the sector.

Tourism was Tanzania's leading foreign exchange earner until recently when it was hard hit by Covid-19 which disrupted economic activities around the world. Earnings from tourism dropped from $2.67 billion in the year ending February 2020 to $876.8 million in the year to February 2021, according to the Bank of Tanzania.

The fall is due to the decrease in the number of international arrivals that dropped to 509,773 from 1,553,686 visitors previously. To revive the sector, President Samia Suluhu Hassan on Thursday highlighted priorities of her government in the tourism sector including attracting investors as she made her maiden address to Parliament in Dodoma.

She said despite the repercussions brought about by Covid-19 the government targeted to increase revenue collection in the tourism sector to $6 billion by 2025 by increasing the scope of attractions including conference tourism. Tourism Confederation of Tanzania (TCT) executive secretary Richard Rugibana told The Citizen that they received the President's pledge with jubilation because it showed her determination to strengthen the sector.

"The tourism sector has been adversely affected by Covid-19 with the number of tourists visiting having declined tremendously thereby affecting businesses," he said. He said that they were seeking a dialogue with the relevant authorities so as to share their experience that will improve the sector going forward.

"We have all witnessed that countries are currently vaccinating their people and therefore hope that they will open doors and allow tourists to visit tourist's destination including our country," he said.

For his part, Tanzania Local Tour Operators (TLTO) chairman Samuel Diah told The Citizen that with a view to improving the tourist sector, it was imperative the government empowered the sector by building infrastructure while touring operators and other stakeholders invested in the sector. He said there was a need to form a joint technical committee through the Public-Private Partnership arrangement to come up with strategies to improve the sector.

He noted that they were calling on the government to introduce new attractions like new hotels and restaurants. "There is also a need to reinforce existing facilities to meet international tourist standards," he said. Explaining further, he said there were currently plans to restore Arusha as a tourist destination that included using mountains and forest within the city to start walking trails to attract day walking tours.

Further, he said the use of the Naura river to add value with stalls and infrastructure may enable tourists to use it as a trial during the day and rest along the riverbank in the evening. He noted that they also call for the introduction of bike ride tours in the city and at the same time use existing gardens to turn them into resting or leisure gardens for both locals and tourists.


Tanzania President Stands for Tourism and Travel Industry


Tanzania President Samia Suluhu Hassan is taking serious steps to re-shape tourism through aggressive and competitive marketing strategies with the establishment of new tourist products.

When addressing the Parliament in Tanzania’s new capital of Dodoma, the Tanzania President said that her government is now attracting more tourists through aggressive marketing strategies at a global level.

The President said her government expects to raise the number of tourists from the current 1.5 million to 5 million visitors in the next 5 years.

In the same line, the government expects to raise tourist revenues from the current US$2.6 billion to US$6 billion in the same period, she said.

To achieve its envisaged targets, the government is now attracting hotel and tourism investments with diversification of tourist visiting sites, mostly the historical sites, and ocean beaches, among other sites once not fully developed to attract tourists.

Tanzania will also identify strategic countries to market its tourism through existing diplomatic missions and embassies, with aggressive marketing of its safari products at a global level. There will also be a review of prohibitive taxes in tourism, aiming to relieve investors from taxes and revenue burden.

Conference, beach, heritage tourist products, and cruise ships are the potential areas that need development and marketing to woo more tourists and travel investments, mostly hotels, air transport, and infrastructure.


Saturday, April 10, 2021

Actress Lupita Nyong'o steps into the Serengeti for the first time


Serengeti — Actress Lupita Nyong'o has on April 5, 2021, revealed that she has finally stepped into the Serengeti National Park for the first time.

She posted a selfie with an elephant on her Instagram account captioned 'This is not a zoom background, I promise!' with a hashtag '#elphie in the Serengeti'.

The Mexican-born Kenyan actress and Oscar winner are rumored to have traveled to Serengeti following The Discovery series dubbed "Serengeti", In which she is one of the narrators. The six episodes of the nature documentary has already filmed and edited before Nyong'o recorded her narration.

The show itself came with the idea of showcasing the region's natural beauty and its heritage to viewers in Africa. On Lupita's Instagram story, she showed videos of friends and herself in a plane as well as other videos of taking the Covid-19 test on arrival before being allowed to adventure the wildlife national park.


Friday, April 9, 2021

Israel Tourists set to visit Tanzania after devastating Covid-19 Pandemic


Arusha. In a renewed bid to woo back visitors after the devastating impact of Covid-19, 140 tourists from Israel will jet into the country next month. The contingent is one among several in the pipeline - thanks to robust marketing by the Tanzania Tourist Board (TTB) in the Middle East tourists source market.

“We are readying to attract huge groups of visitors this time from Asia, eastern Europe, and the Middle East,” said Ms. Devotha Mdachi, TTB managing director. She told journalists at the Kilimanjaro International Airport (KIA) on Tuesday that a contingent of visitors from Israel will jet in on May 14.

Ms. Mdachi said other groups from the Middle East country will follow in the coming months. In recent years, Tanzania has been receiving an average of 2,000 tourists from Israel each year.

The TTB chief said this when she was seeing off 15 travel agents and tourism photographers from Israel who were in the country to sample the attractions in the northern circuit. Ms. Mdachi said besides the traditional tourist source countries of Western Europe and North America, Tanzania is now focusing on new markets in Asia and Eastern Europe.

“There is a growing interest in Tanzania tourism in eastern Europe, northern Europe, and Russia. The same is true for the Far East,” Ms. Mdachi said.

She said promotion efforts were underway to woo visitors from within the African continent and that TTB was using the Tanzanian diplomatic missions to market the country.

“We are getting a lot of inquiries from travel agents in West Africa. There is a significant number of visitors from South Africa and from within the East African Community (EAC) bloc,” she said.

Mr. Shlomo Carmel, an executive of Another World tour company in Israel told The Citizen that his firm would organize flights for 2,000 tourists from Israel to Tanzania this year. The company is the largest selling destination in Africa in the Middle East country. He said Tanzania has lately become one of their preferred tourism destinations.

Ms. Miri Eldar who works with the airport authority in Tel Aviv said they had been excited by the wildlife splendor in Serengeti National Park and the adjacent Ngorongoro Conservation Area.

“You have wonderful tourist attractions. Tanzania is also a safe country. What a wonderful experience”, she explained.

According to TTB, tourists from Israel were estimated to be only about 3,000 in 2011. The number increased to 4,635 in 2012 and more than tripled to 15,000 visitors by 2016. In a span of a few years, Israel has shot to the sixth position of the leading tourist source markets for Tanzania before the outbreak of the global pandemic Covid-19

The United States has been the leading source of about 1.5 million tourists visiting the country annually followed by the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, and India.

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Tanzania government Explains rise of Fees in virus-ravaged Tourism


Summary

The planned changes have somehow irked tour operators and lodge owners who argue that the fees will make Tanzanian safaris more expensive - and, ultimately, prompt cancellations of current bookings.

Dar es Salaam. The government yesterday explained why it increased entry fees to four national parks, responding to an uproar against the hike from tour operators and legislators. Starting July 1, 2021, the entry fees to Serengeti, Lake Manyara, Tarangire, and Arusha national parks located in the Northern Tourist Circuit will rise from the current $60 to $70 during the high tourism season,’ and remain at the current rate during low seasons.

According to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism, the concession fees which are charged by the Tanzania National Parks Authority (Tanapa) to the lodges and tented camps located within the park borders will increase from $50 to $60 for Serengeti, while remaining at $40 elsewhere.

The entry fees for Serengeti will also increase from the current $60 to $70 while the fees in the other three parks will rise from $45 to $50.

The seasonal and special camping fees will increase from $50 to $60 in all four parks.

The planned changes irked tour operators and lodge owners who argue that the fees will make Tanzania safaris more expensive - and, ultimately, prompt cancellations of current bookings.

Their voices were echoed by Arusha MP Mrisho Gambo (CCM) who asked why the government was not considering halting the new fees to stimulate the growth of the tourism sector which was already hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic.

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.