HAVING already grabbed the Chinese tourist market, Tanzania is now striving to capture other emerging tourism markets.
The vast East African nation now eyes Israel, Australia and the Gulf countries as other potential markets in bolstering the two billion US dollar (about 5tri/-) sector.
Speaking here on Sunday evening while hosting a dinner gala for 343 tourists, journalists and investors from China, Natural Resources and Tourism Minister Dr Hamis Kigwangalla said the country is now shifting focus from the traditional markets, mostly United States of America, Germany, France and Italy, to other emerging potential markets.
The minister also acknowledged that the country was making strides on the tourism front. "This is an indication of how serious we are in tapping more tourists from other countries, albeit in a short period," said the minister.
Detailing on the prospects of the Chinese tourists' visit to the country's natural attractions, Dr Kigwangalla disclosed that Tanzania stood to reap big from the tourists who arrived in the country on Sunday evening as part of Tour Africa New Horizon. The tourists started their visit at the Manyara National Park yesterday.
"China is one of our lead markets at the moment, we expect to even host more tourists from the world's most populous nation," he added.
On his part, Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa who was the chief guest during the gala night commended the tourists for choosing Tanzania as their preferred destination, assuring them of safety and bliss as they sample the country's natural resources.
The premier lauded Mr He Liehui who chairs the Touchroad International Holdings Group for a well done job in marketing Tanzania's attractions in China and making the trip possible.
"We are very grateful to the agent for making this a reality, Tanzania is one of the friendliest countries in the world, with hospitable people," the PM remarked.
According to Mr Majaliwa, the Chinese delegation to Tanzania stems from the long standing cordial diplomatic ties between Dar and Beijing, which date back to the leadership of Mwalimu Julius Kambarage Nyerere and Mao Zedong, the Chinese communist revolutionary who became the founding father of the People's Republic of China.
On Sunday, an Ethiopian airline carrying the 343 tourists landed at Kilimanjaro International Airport, ahead of the adventurous expedition in the country.
Also featuring famous people, investors from 27 companies and 40 journalists and some officials from the Chinese government, the delegation started their voyage on May 10 this year, according to Tanzania Tourist Board (TTB) Board Chairman Judge Thomas Mihayo.
During their stay in the country, the tourists are set to visit Lake Manyara National Park, Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority, Olduvai Gorge, Maasai Bomas, Serengeti National Park and Zanzibar.
Late last month, a group of 1,000 tourists from Israel visited the country for a similar mission, visiting notable national parks and other natural attractions found in Tanzania.