Tourism is an economic powerhouse for Tanzania with Kilimanjaro, Serengeti, and Zanzibar being the pillars being the crème de la crème of this vibrant sector.
Without the famed Mount Kilimanjaro or the Serengeti National Park and the all-time holiday destination of Zanzibar; Tanzania would be talking of something different on its tourism standing across the globe.
In the last five years, Tanzania’s tourism sector made huge strides in the last five years in increasing the number of visitors annually translating to more income from the sector.
Efforts by the government then led by the late Dr. John Pombe Magufuli put in a lot of work and strategies to ensure that the tourism sector thrives. After his death, his VP Samia Suluhu took over power and has prioritized the tourism sector.
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, industry players are reeling in losses and hard business times with a drop in the number of visitors to Tanzania for the last year. A testament to this is data by the Bank of Tanzania citing that tourism revenue dropped from $2.67 billion in 2019 to $876.8 million in 2020.
This is a sharp drop occasioned by a reduced number of foreign tourists. They dropped by more than half to 509,773 from 1,553,686.
How President Samia Suluhu is revitalizing Tanzania’s tourism industry
This has caught the Tanzanian President’s eye and has promised to prioritize operations of the tourism sector in a bid to cushion industry players from further losses. One of her plans is to increase the number of tourists visiting Tanzania from overseas.
She will work towards bringing in more investors to the country with her focus being the tourism industry. When all this is done, the Tanzanian government will be eyeing a collection of $6 billion in revenue from the sector beginning 2025.
Besides the visits to Kilimanjaro, Serengeti and Zanzibar for vacations, Tanzania is keenly looking at other models of increasing revenue in Tanzania such as conference tourism which will be part of an enhanced business tourism package.
Tourism Confederation of Tanzania
President Samia’s pledge was well received by industry players with the Tourism Confederation of Tanzania (TCT) expressing optimism of better days ahead.
TCT executive secretary Richard Rugibana told The Citizen that they received the
“The tourism sector has been adversely affected by Covid-19 with the number of tourists visiting having declined tremendously thereby affecting businesses,” TCT executive secretary Richard Rugibana told The Citizen.
Rugibana added that they are in dialogue with relevant authorities and have given proposals on what needs to be done to revive and improve the situation for different sectors.
“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 noted.
Tour operators, on the other hand, have urged the government to consider a facelift in major cities such as Arusha which receives thousands of visitors heading to Mount Kilimanjaro.
Samuel Diah, the Tanzania Local Tour Operators (TLTO) chairman said that Arusha is one of the areas whose infrastructure requires a major upgrade as restoration continues with the view to boost tourism in the area.
Arusha accounts for a huge part of Tanzania’s tourism due to Mount Kilimanjaro which sits here and towers high to become Africa’s highest mountain. Mountain climbing is a major thing in Arusha and the main economic driver for this region is tourism.
The unrivalled beauty of Serengeti welcomed the recent celebrity visitors, American actor Will Smith and his wife Jada Pinkett. Will and Jada safari at the Serengeti National Park came as Will Smith was shooting a documentary for Nat Geo.
Serengeti National Park is one of the world’s renowned wildlife sanctuaries with thousands of game spread across the grass-ridden plains of the park.
It’s history dates back to 1952 when it was established and is today’s home to the big five and a wildebeest migration spectacle in the world. Wild animals in their thousands cross over to Serengeti from Maasai Mara in Kenya between July and October. It has a population of two million animals.
Serengeti National Park is divided into three sections with the Central/Southern Serengeti area being the most popular. It is commonly referred to as Seronera Valley which is a savannah with acacia trees and enjoys a high population of wildlife. Most lodges in the Serengeti are located here.