(eTN) – The “safari capital of East Africa,” as Arusha is also known, is bracing for the influx of as many as 8,000 more visitors in early June, when the Karibu Travel and Tourism Fair, the region’s one and only international tourism trade show, is taking place between June 3 and 5.
As many as 300 exhibitors can now be accommodated, most of them coming from the wider East African region, with the Seychelles participating for the second year running to promote twin-center holidays between the East African mainland and the paradise beaches of the archipelago.
Companies from Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, and Rwanda will make up the bulk of exhibitors and visitors, including the all important buyers who are expected to come from many parts of the world to see the latest innovations and product improvements resorts, safari lodges, camp operators, and safari companies offer to their clients.
Many coming to Arusha for Karibu also take advantage of the low-season fam trips organized for travel agents and overseas tour operators, who now happily combine the attendance of the Arusha-based Karibu fair with a fact-finding mission to the “Northern Circuit” national parks of Tarangire, Lake Manyara, Ngorongoro, and the Serengeti.
Media houses attending the Karibu Fair are, however, also expected, besides reports from the site and interviews with stakeholders, to focus on a range of environmental and conservation issues this year, ranging from the controversial Serengeti highway over the soda ash plant at Lake Natron to the dropped application to UNESCO for recognition of the Eastern Arc Mountains as a World Heritage Site. These controversies, which also include Stiegler’s Gorge at the Selous and the old Stone Town in Zanzibar, have stirred global debate over the wisdom of the Tanzanian government to engage in such destructive projects, and undoubtedly the conservation-minded tourism industry in Tanzania will find allies with the international media in their struggle to preserve the very nature from which tourism not just benefits but entirely depends on.