THE future is bright for further growth of the country's tourism sector as the government plans to have a special month for cultural heritage tourism activities annually.
Heritage tourism includes places, artifacts and activities that authentically represent the stories and people of the past as well as cultural, historic and natural resources.
The move comes following the fact that heritage tourism has been lagging behind wildlife tourism, with over 80 per cent coming for wildlife tourism.
Natural Resources and Tourism Minister Hamisi Kigwangalla (pictured) stated yesterday that it is now high time for expanding the tourism sector, so it contributes more to national economy.
Among other economic sectors, tourism leads in contributing to national economy. Revenues from the tourism industry have been increasing year after year. Last year the sector earned 2.1 billion US dollars against the 1.9 billion US dollars realised in the previous year.
In Zanzibar, revenue from tourism increased by 30.4 per cent to 3.8 billion US dollars in 2016 from 2.9 billion US dollars earned in 2015. Dr Kigwangalla said this shortly before launching national committee to work on arrangement of the month of the heritage tourism to be marked annually.
One of the agenda after the launching of the committee was to come up with a name for the particular month. The committee agreed to call it, 'Urithi Festival'. Most of the members who proposed the name argued that, apart from selling tourism as a product, it would also help in spreading Kiswahili language as part of the Tanzanian culture.
The Urithi Festival will be marked every September during which various cultural activities will be performed countrywide. Dr Kigwangalla noted that during the month there will be special modalities that would enable the citizens to participate in various activities and thus attract tourists coming to Tanzania for heritage tourism.
"We now want to make the heritage the key product of tourism. There are other countries that earn a lot of foreign currency from cultural heritage tourism," he said.
Simiyu Regional Commissioner (RC), Mr Anthony Mtaka, said one of the committee members, believes that the country will benefit a lot if the plan comes to fruition. He said the Urithi Festival would, apart from increasing tourists, give the country a new image.