PARTNERSHIP between the English Premier League club Sunderland and Tanzania has significantly helped to boost tourism and stimulate further economic growth in the country.
Tanzania Tourism Board (TTB) Managing Director Aloyce Nzuki told a press conference in Dar es Salaam that the benefits of the partnership is already being felt in terms of increase in the number of tourists' arrival from UK by 30 per cent for the past few months.
"Apart from tourism boost, the new partnership with Sunderland AFC will also promote economic growth by attracting investment in the country," said Nzuki while briefing journalists on the visit of the club's two top officials who have come to activate the partnership between the club and the country.
Garry Hutchinson, who is the Sunderland AFC Commercial Director, said the club would use different platforms to promote the country in order to boost tourism and investments.
"We have come to activate our partnership focusing on soccer development, tourism growth and investment in Tanzania," he said.
Hutchinson further commented: "It's great to be able to showcase the great work that the club does and to build on our relationships with some of the biggest businesses in Tanzania. "Since being in Tanzania the passion and enthusiasm for football has been evident."
The club announced plans in June to build the multi-sports park at Kidongo Chekundu area in Ilala municipality, Dar es Salaam in partnership with Symbion Power.
The academy is expected to open in early 2014. The Sunderland AFC Commercial Director is accompanied by the club's Business Development Manager Clare Wilson. The delegation, which held conversation with TTB, was expected to jet off back to UK on Wednesday evening.
President Jakaya Kikwete recently graced the kick off of the partnership in London that will see Sunderland AFC providing its expertise for implementation of the project to be developed by the global electricity giant Symbion Power in Dar es Salaam.
With the club providing technical and practical support, the project will see thousands of youngsters benefiting from a joined up approach combining football, education and community engagement, harnessing the knowledge and expertise of Sunderland AFC and its own successful Academy.
The project will bring football facilities to thousands of local youngsters in Dar es Salaam, with an elite-level facility also planned to help Tanzania's ascent on the world footballing stage.
President Kikwete hailed the academy programme idea, saying it is the way to go if the country is to achieve its ambition of being Africa's football powerhouses.
For the past few years Tanzania has been aggressive in marketing campaign in the United Kingdom as the country seeks to increase the number of tourists.
State owned Tanzania National Parks, Tanzania Tourist Board (TTB) and Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority teamed up two years ago to market tourist attractions in the country through clever advertising during the English Premium League in the UK.
The Tanzanian institutions placed billboards around six major premier league stadiums, they have paid for 'Led Perimeter Advertising', the digital video displays which scroll on the side walls of the stadiums.