IN recognition of the huge potential for Tanzania to become the best tour destination in the continent, stakeholders in the tour industry both local and international have seen the need to convene a meeting in Arusha to deliberate on strategies to unravel factors impeding rapid growth of the sector.
According to the organizing secretariat, Globalskill Consulting in collaboration with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism, the forum dubbed 'Mpingo Tourism Summit 2014', will invite highly experienced experts in tourism to share valid experience and advice on the best way forward.
The Summit Chairman Bakir Angalia spoke of the existing operational gap between policy makers and private players on the ground that, through close cooperation tourism in Tanzania could move the world positively. Under the initiative the industry will contribute more to the national income.
The two-day summit is scheduled for 22nd and 23rd of September. Among other hitches that tour operators persistently pointed out as a serious setback was lack of national carrier (airline) which could facilitate direct flights to visitors from across the continents.
It was explained that since nearly 40 per cent of about one million tourists visiting Tanzania annually have to land at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Kenya and cross to the country through the Namanga border post, the trend was quite unhealthy and dangerous to the flourishing of the tour industry.
"Ticket arrangements constitute at least 60 per cent of the tourist budget. It is not advisable for the country to continue operating that way without a reliable carrier which would guarantee direct flights to Tanzania to the convenience of visitors as well. These are the kind of things to talk about for a lasting solution," Mr Angalia noted.
Other issues on the agenda include new direction for tourism products, development, local government and sustainable tourism development, poaching menace, tourism policy modelling, destination and reputation.
According to the timetable, the key speakers during the Mpingo Tourism Summit include most eminent persons with international recognition for their contribution to the welfare of the tour industry for realization of the intended goals.
Among the presenters is Dirk Elzinga, the Managing Director of Convention Industry Consultants (Pty) Ltd in Cape Town, South Africa who will lead discussion on some of the topics during the summit.
Experts of global recognition are known to have assisted world governments and private organizations with feasibility studies and pre-opening marketing and business management support for new convention centre initiatives. More importantly, the conference also invited, Chad Shiver, a Senior DMO Executive with Trip Advisor in London.
He is expected to share ideas which will help lift up Tanzania from among the lowest in rankings. Trip Advisor's DMO team's responsibilities include working with and developing relationships with tourist boards across Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
Speakers/presenters from the Ministry of Natural resources and Tourism will talk about the national and regional tourism policies, share with other delegates the government's view on the existing policies and together discuss the shortfalls. Other speakers are from the Tanzania Tourism Board (TTB), and Tanzania Association of Tour Operators (TATO) among others.