Tanzania Daily News (Dar es Salaam)

Tanzania: Sports Boost Influx of Tourists

PROMOTION of tourism through sports has been outlined as one among the major factors that has helped boost revenue collection in the country, as far as tourists' inflow is concerned.

Tanzania Tourist Board (TTB) Marketing Manager, Geoffrey Meena, said during a joint press conference with officials of the visiting US Major League Soccer (MLS) side - Seattle Sounders FC- that tourism promotion drive through sports has enabled the country receive close to 900,000 tourists last year.

He said the TTB invited a delegation of two Seattle Sounders FC officials, for a tour of various attractions centres apart from conducting soccer clinics during their nine day stay in the country. Seattle Sounders are among the TTB' s partners in the sports tourism promotion drive.

Meena said UK and USA are interchangeably leading foreign countries in bringing in to Tanzania the big number of tourists. This is why he said, TTB decided to venture into massive promotions drive in the two countries.

Key elements of the partnership include large-scale, full-color signage at highly visible areas within Century Link Field and Starfire Sports Complex, the Sounders FC training facility located in Tukwila, Washington, United States The signage features iconic images of tourist attractions including: Mount Kilimanjaro, the Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater and Zanzibar Island.

Seattle officials who are in the country are defender Marc Burch and former Sounders FC goalkeeper and team broadcaster Kasey Keller. In partnership with the Washington Global Health Alliance (WGHA), the delegation visited three Seattle based global health organizations with a presence in the Arusha region including: World Vision, PATH and Washington State University's Paul G. Allen School for Global Animal.

Earlier, the club's Director of Fan Development, Kevin Griffin said Tanzania boasts of abundant of talents in football which lack proper guidance to achieve their goals. He said they are planning to upgrade the local coaches' skills to improve their expertise so that at the end of the day they effectively pass it to the youth.

Football fans in the US and throughout the world are currently getting a glimpse of destination Tanzania on flashy electronic billboards at stadia. TTB sealed a deal with Seattle Sounders whereby adverts luring Americans and other foreign tourists to the country are beamed at stadia.

It was in addition to continuing advertising with British Premier League, in which the TTB renewed its campaign contact with Lantech Service limited of London to carry over tourism promotion activity to the ongoing English Premier League, which runs through May 2013.

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