Tanzania: 60th Indepence Anniversary - Tanzania Preferred Destination for Tourists

MAJOR reforms executed by the Ministry of Tourism and Natural Resources have seen an increase in the number of tour operators in the country.

Detailing the milestones registered by her docket 60 years in the past, Deputy Minister for Tourism and Natural Resources, Mary Masanja, said there are now around 1,687 tour operators in Tanzania, from the initially 643 registered companies.

The Deputy Minister attributed the rise to a number factors, chiefly being the review of the once disputed Tanzania Tourism Business Licence(TALA) for tour operators from 4.6mn/-($2,000) to 1.1mn/-($500).

"Mindful of the staggering number of employment opportunities that the sector creates, we opted to review the licence with a view of encouraging more Tanzanians to venture into the sector, which generates around $2billion every year," the Deputy Minister explained.

This equates to 162.4 per cent increase in the men and women serving tourists visiting the country every year.

The disputed fee has been a thorn in the flesh of many tour operators, with many forcing to ground their vehicles and close shop for failing meet the legal provision.

It was once described as an unfairly imposed tax on tour operators who had less than four vehicles.

As it stands, those owning less than four cars are entitled to $500 while those running a fleet of more than four vehicles part ways with $2000.

In her televised Press Conference held in the country's capital, the Deputy Minister also took note of the increase in the number of tourists' arrivals in 1960 to the influx of Safari enthusiast who have made Tanzania their preferred destination lately.

"We had received around 9,847 tourists before the country gained its Independence to 1.5million people who visited the country in 2019," she revealed.

This has seen the country pocket $2.6billion in 2019, compared to just 259million that was accrued 60 years ago.

Such a reality has seen the Tourism and Hospitality sector become the mainstay in foreign exchange coupled by its massive contribution to the country's Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

According to National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), nearly 25 per cent of all foreign exchange comes from Tourism Sector, with the industry contributing around 17 per cent to the GDP.

With this in mind, the government has since set its sight in tapping the potential of new emerging markets.

"Such markets include China, Russia, Poland and the Emirates," she said.

The country also aspires to capitalize on new Tourism Products such as Cruise Ship Tourism, Medical, Conference and Beach Tourism.

"Beach tourism is doing quite well in the Isles, the government is striving to ensure that such a feat is also replicated in the mainland," disclosed the Deputy Minister.

According to Ms Masanja, the sector is also banking on the prospects of Apitourism, which is an alternative form of tourism inextricably linked to the art of beekeeping and the life of the bee.

Tanzania boasts of about 48.1 million hectares of natural forest and woodland resources.

In the same vein, the deputy minister attributed the drop in poaching activities to enhanced intelligence operations, modern approaches, strong policies, political will and zero tolerance to corruption.

"The establishment of the paramilitary unit was just an icing on the cake, by and large we happy to note that poaching has gone down by a staggering 90 per cent," she said.

Tanzania had at Independence only three national parks and today, the country is a home to 22 national parks.

By 1961, the country had no Game Controlled Area, but there are now around 29 all over the country.

The number of museums has also risen from just one in 1961 to seven in 2021.

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