Thursday, April 20, 2017

Tanzania courts tourists from Israel as ties blossom

Tanzania Tourist Board chairman Thomas Mihayo

Tanzania Tourist Board chairman Thomas Mihayo speaks at a past event. PHOTO|FILE 

By By Alex Malanga @ChiefMalanga

Dar es Salaam. Tanzania targets Israel as its new tourist market.

Next month, Tanzania Tourist Board (TTB) managing director Devotha Mdachi will go to Israel to discuss a deal.

“I am optimistic about this drive, we stand a chance to increase the number of tourists,” TTB chairman Thomas Mihayo told journalists here yesterday. TTB aims at increasing the number of tourists from 1.14 million to 3 million by 2018.

Last week former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak visited Ngorongoro Crater, Olduvai Gorge and other tourist attractions.

He promised to promote Tanzania as a tourist destination for Israelis.

The board has also arranged a three-day tour of Israeli journalists.

A delegation of 10 visitors who started a tour on Tuesday, will visit the Gombe National Park in Kigoma.

“Our aim is to promote Southern and Western circuits,” said Ms Mdachi.

However, Ms Mdachi she spoke about infrastructure challenges in promoting the circuits. “Tourists have to use air transport, which is expensive. We are having talks with the Ministry for Works, Transport and Communications to improve other forms of infrastructure to lower transport costs.”

Tanzania is also seeking to attract Chinese, Indian, Russian, Turkish, Brazilian and Arab tourists.

Tanzania generally depends on the European and US markets.

Tourism is Tanzania’s leading foreign exchange earner, generating about $2 billion annually and contributing 17 per cent of Tanzania’s annual income.

It is also estimated to create 500,000 jobs.