TANZANIA: Where tourists come from as recovery gathers pace

Russian tourists walk on the tarmac shortly after their chartered flight landed at the Abeid Amani International Airport in Zanzibar in November 2020. /Citizen

Dar es Salaam. At a time when tourism recovery is gathering pace in the country, the majority of international tourists who visited Tanzania between January and June this year came from the Russian Federation, which accounted for 19.9 percent of the arrivals, a new report says.

This suggests that Russia has managed to beat the odds by taking down USA, UK, Germany, South Africa, Italy, Switzerland, France, Uganda and China: countries which had been major tourist source markets for Tanzania. That’s no longer the case today, as the Covid-19 pandemic triggered lockdowns in those countries.

In the period under review, Tanzania attracted 74,579 tourists from the Russian Federation. Kenya was far behind, at 34,611 tourists, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

But to make it even more interesting, Kenya has maintained its past position.

The icing on the cake is that Tanzania’s promotion and marketing strategies took the new emerging markets to the top – including Burundi, Malawi, Poland, Rwanda, Congo and France.

It is on those grounds that the power of markets diversification comes, made necessary by the pandemic hitting the country’s primary markets.

“With effect from 2020 when Covid-19 was at its peak, most of our primary tourist source markets underwent lockdowns,” Tanzania Tourist Board (TTB) acting public relations manager Christina Kamuzora said, explaining the shift in source markets.

On why Kenya maintained its position despite the pandemic, Ms Kamuzora said it was triggered by its day-to-day interactions with Tanzania as the two are considered a single country in the eyes of foreign tourists.

Explaining how Tanzania was able to attract new tourist source markets, she attributed this to TTB’s keen marketing strategies in collaboration with our diplomats abroad.

“In efforts to make Tanzania more attractive than other tourist destinations – and, thus increasing the number of our tourist arrivals – we have been embracing digital and social media marketing,” Ms Kamuzora told The Citizen yesterday. She added that if the Covid-19’s Omicron variant would be contained soonest, then the future of the tourism was likely to be promising in the coming years.

“We remain positive that we will be able to hit the 5 million tourist arrivals target come 2025 and garner $6 billion in earnings,” Ms Kamuzora said.

The Zanzibar Commission for Tourism’s public relations officer, Mr Mohammed Bajuni, told The Citizen that Russia is on top of the list of countries that brought in more tourists due to a contract that Zanzibar had recently signed with a major tourism agent.

Poland, for its part, had more tourists flocking into the country following Tanzania’s participation in the Tourism-Travel Trade Shows in Poland.

“I am optimistic that our tourism future is bright,” said Mr Bajuni, banking his hopes on a royal tour documentary which is an initiative by President Samia Suluhu Hassan.

Recording of the documentary intended to promote Tanzania internationally started on August 28, 2021, in Zanzibar where the President was on an official visit.

“Tanzania is committed to leveraging the available opportunities to maximise its full potential of the vast array of tourist attraction sites we are endowed with,” Mr Bajuni said.

Tanzania’s well-known wildlife attractions are located in the Northern Tourism Circuit, and include the Serengeti, the Tarangire and the Lake Manyara National Parks.

The Tanzania Association of Tour Operators’ chief executive officer, Mr Sirili Akko, told The Citizen that the new trend in the tourism sector is determined by internal travel advisories consumed by tourists in their own countries about their destination of choice.

Also, added Mr Akko: those countries which are currently on top of the list with more tourists, are naturally more resilient tourism markets than others when it comes to travel and adventure.

As growing numbers of countries around the world ease pandemic-related restrictions on travel, Tanzania’s tourism sector has shown signs of recovery, with the number of tourist arrival rising.

In the first 10 months of this year, the number of tourist arrivals rose to 712,876 compared to 620,867 in the entire 2020.

As of 2019, Tanzania had almost 38 percent of its land reserved as ‘protected areas:’ one of the world’s highest percentages.

Tanzania boasts 22 National Parks, and is home to a large variety of wildlife. Among the large mammals are the ‘Big Five’ (the buffalo, elephant, lion, leopard and rhino) as well as cheetahs, wildebeeste, giraffes, hippopotamuses and various antelopes.

(The Citizen)


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