Dar es Salaam — Tanzania is now a holiday destination of preferred choice for the Irish, recent reports suggest. Holiday bookings to Tanzania from Ireland have risen almost 400 per cent between November 2017 and July 2018, according to the Manchester, UK-based tour firm Travel Counsellors.
Although the tour firm did not say exactly how many tourists would be coming to the country on the back of the holiday bookings, it was nonetheless obvious that Ireland is not yet part of the five top tourist source markets for Tanzania. The spokeswoman for the company, Cathy Burke, was quoted by Irish media as saying that "the Irish prefer the more memorable experiences offered by Tanzania's tourism... "
But readier access to Tanzania for holidaymakers - compounded by the inordinately-high costs of holidaying in Europe - are some of the reasons for the rise in holidaymakers preferring Tanzania as a tourist destination.
"The safari options offer an authentic, unspoiled experience, so people are going now before it gets too popular. There are also some memorable accommodation options now available - like 'The Bush Rover Suites,' which are full working Land Rovers that, once in-situ, fold out into elevated bedrooms with balconies," Ms Burke said. The Tanzania government has been looking at diversifying its tourist arrivals away from the traditional source markets of Europe and the United States.
Ireland, however, has not been a common tourist source market for arrivals from Europe, which have traditionally been the UK, Germany, Italy and the Scandinavian countries. Tanzania hosted 1,284,279 tourists in 2016 - an increase of 12 per cent compared to the previous year. The top five tourist source markets were the United Kingdom, Kenya, the United States, Germany and Italy.
The Tanzania Tourist Board (TTB) is also making efforts to attract tourists from Asian countries, mainly Japan, China, Korea - and Israel!
The country earned $2.1 billion in 2016 as tourism revenues, an increase from $1.9 billion the previous year. Revenues from travel and transport earn the country the largest amount of foreign exchange as a sector of the economy.
The direct contribution of travel and tourism to the gross domestic product in 2016 was $2.1 billion (Sh4.5 trillion), equivalent to 4.1 per cent of total GDP - and it is projected to increase by 6.8 per cent per annum during the period 2017-to-2027.
The total contribution of travel and tourism to Tanzania's GDP was $5.9 billion (Sh13 trillion) in 2016.
In 2016, the sector supported 470,500 jobs - which was equivalent to three per cent of total employment in the country.
Total contribution of the sector to employment (direct and indirect jobs) was 1,389,000 jobs, equivalent to 11.6 per cent of total employment.
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