Tanzania has been encouraged to tap the rich Chinese tourism market in a quest to boost revenue receipts from the sector. The idea emanated from the Chinese Ambassador to Tanzania, Ms Ke Wang, when speaking at an event in Dar es Salaam recently.
The envoy is of the view that the local tourist board and other stakeholders should moot a comprehensive strategy that would culminate in a hefty increase in the number of tourists who visit local tourist spots, some hailing from China. The envoy's idea is welcome. Tanzania is, certainly, the richest country in the world in terms of the number of tourist attractions.
This situation has prompted the government to apportion more than 44 per cent of its land area to game reserves and national parks. So far, there are 16 national parks, 29 game reserves, 40 controlled conservation areas and marine parks.
Mount Kilimanjaro, the Roof of Africa, is also located in Tanzania. But tourist arrivals are still few, although their number climbed up slightly last year. At the moment, the nation envisages creating a friendlier climate that would see the number of arrivals climbing from the current 800,000 to 1.6 million annually in the near future. Indeed, it is high time the nation increased its tourist share from China as well.
It is unacceptable, that while Tanzania has some of the best tourist attractions in the world, the number of visitors still remains low and national earnings from the sector unsatisfactory. This stark reality needs remedial action.
It is also unthinkable that a country that has 16 attractive wildlife sanctuaries should fail to shunt in millions of lovers of nature. The number of tourists visiting Tanzania rose by 10.4 per cent from January to October, last year, compared with the same period in 2015.
This is delightful news but these figures are still bleak. More efforts should be made to popularise Tanzania as a sparkling tourism spot. Tourism is one of the main sources of foreign currency in Tanzania.
As part of an initiative to boost revenue, the government of Tanzania lifted an 18 per cent value-added-tax exemption in July, last year, on some tourist attractions, including wildlife park entry. And yet not enough lovers of nature visit the nations wonderful tourism spots!
The main reason is that not enough effort is made to advertise Tanzania as the most wonderful tourism spot in the world.
Yes, Tanzania's tourism spots can easily and readily be rated as the best in the world.
There is no reason at all why a country that has the largest herd of wild animals, some of which have an intriguing annual migratory habit, should not win the hearts of even the most skeptical travelers. Spots such as the Ngorongoro Crater are simply amazing.