Tanzania is emerging as an African leader in the rapidly growing meetings, conferences and events industry, experts have said.
According to an analysis by Trevor Ward of W Hospitality Group, one of the fastest growing sectors of the global tourism industry is that which goes by the acronym of MICE, which stands for Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions. The common denominator is that the events all involve groups of people, sometimes but by no means always travelling together, coming to the same place (destination) with a common purpose.
Tanzania's growth within the business tourism sector has been driven by growing international recognition of a tourism industry second to none in terms of diversity and quality of experiences.
As younger business travellers and entrepreneurs increasingly look to combine business and leisure travel, Tanzania is moving to ensure the connectivity and infrastructure is in place to welcome growing numbers of African business travellers.
Arusha International Conference Centre CEO Elishilia D. Kaaya revealed the ambitious plans in an interview withAfricaLive.net stating "We are steadily preparing the country for the big time when it comes to business tourism.
"Arusha is home to some of the most acclaimed natural sites in the world such as theSerengeti, Mount Kilimanjaro, and Ngorongoro crater. Our centre is closely associated with these amazing sites because of our proximity to them. We want people to think about these wonders of the world whenever the ArushaInternational Conference Centre is mentioned."
A statement from APO noted that the development of the industry in Tanzania will see continued investment in infrastructure and facilities with new conference centres developing close tothe country's main tourist and business hubs such as Zanzibar and Dar es Salaam. Mr Kaaya explained "Our vision is to create a road map for the development of this sector in the country. As far as I am concerned, this sector still has a lot to accomplish to reach its full potential. Arusha ICCruns a similar facility in Dar es Salaam known as the Julius Nyerere international convention centre. That centre just successfully hosted the thirty-ninth SADC head of states summit.
We are looking to develop many more such centres all over the country to boost business tourism and conferences in the future. We are currently scouting areas like Zanzibar, Dodoma, Mwanza, and also the southern part of Tanzania that is rich in natural endowments. As the only public organisation in the country dealing with business tourism and conferences, we feel it is high time otherparts of the country also partake in the share of this huge cake."
According to an industry analysis by World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), data from Africa points to a 7 per cent increase in 2018 (North Africa at +10 percent and Sub-Saharan +6 per), reaching an estimated 67 million arrivals.