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Despite global financial crunch, Tanzania tourism is optimistic

Written by editor

DAR ES SALAAM, Tanzania (eTN) – Tanzania could see its tourist industry survive through global financial turbulence, a survey by the Tanzania Tourist Board (TTB) at the world’s premier tourism exhib

DAR ES SALAAM, Tanzania (eTN) – Tanzania could see its tourist industry survive through global financial turbulence, a survey by the Tanzania Tourist Board (TTB) at the world’s premier tourism exhibition just ended in Berlin, Germany showed.

The Tanzania Tourist Board said in its media advisory to eTN that there has been success at this year’s International Tourism Fair (ITB) just ended in Berlin early this week.

“With over 63 public and private companies on the Tanzania pavilion the outcome from trade visitors has exceeded all expectations. For the five-day duration of the ITB, tourist stakeholders from Tanzania were busy in attending visitor inquiries, ranging from wildlife, safaris, mountain climbing, beach holidays, walking safaris, cultural tourism and Zanzibar,” the TTB said.

“Despite the global financial crisis, visitors to the Tanzania pavilion showed growing interest to visit Southern and Western Tanzania tourist circuits including the game parks such as Selous, Ruaha, Katavi and Mikumi. They were also interested to visit historical sites of Bagamoyo, Kilwa and the marine parks of Mafia Island, Pemba and Msimbati on the Indian Ocean coast,” TTB senior marketing official said.

Compared to previous years, this year’s demand for knowledge on Tanzania’s rich history, culture and tourism products has increased. Part of this demand has been the result of the publicity by German television stations with programs such as the live broadcast from Mount Kilimanjaro by the WDR Television together with ARD Morgen Magazine which took place in August 2008 and also the live broadcast by ZDF Television on Tourism Development in Tanzania in March 2009.

Concurrent with this increase in demand is the increase of seat capacity to Tanzania by major airlines such as KLM, which is now using the wide Boeing 777-400 aircraft. Swiss International, Qatar Airways, Emirates, Ethiopian Airlines and Condor have all seized this opportunity in market demand for Tanzania.

This rising demand for seats has had the knock-on effect on hotel rooms, especially in the next three years, whereby Tanzania expects one million tourists. Most of the tour operators have called upon the Government to promote more investment in urban areas, beaches and near the National Parks, without the destruction of the natural environment, an issue dear to visitors.

In the same spirit, the overseas agents have advised the Tanzanian counterparts to offer a cost effective service that does not compromise value for money of the tour packages.

The demand for visits to Tanzania has continued to extended across the borders of German speaking countries to the emerging Eastern European markets of Poland, Czech Republic, Hungary and Russia, which now calls for aggressive marketing by the Tanzania Tourist Board together with the private sector. The growth of the middle class in these integrated European countries has resulted in a growing demand for visits to Tanzania.

Tanzania is among the 33 African countries that have exhibited at ITB Berlin, which has attracted more than 11,098 exhibitors from 187 countries worldwide.

The provisional visitor figures that attended ITB this year has been reported to be more than 120,000. The worldwide tourism industry faces a difficult two years with a decline in 2009 and only marginal growth in 2010, according to the World Travel & Tourism Council.

Its 2009 Economic Impact Research, released at ITB, forecasts that a 3.6 percent fall in 2009 will be followed by a rise of less than 0.3 percent next year, with emerging economies leading the way.

Commenting on Team Tanzania participation at ITB 2009, Dr. Ladislaus Komba, permanent secretary, Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism, said, “The ITB has been very successful despite the global economic crisis. I am hopeful that German travelers will continue their tradition of prioritizing travel to Tanzania as part of their budget travel destination.”

Team Tanzania at ITB Berlin was led by Dr. Komba. Other officials were from the Tanzania Tourist Board, Zanzibar Commission for Tourism, Tanzania National Parks, Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority, Tanzanian ambassador to Germany plus the 55 private companies.