Arusha. Tanzania tour operators are rolling out the red carpet, eyeing the arrival of thousands mountaineers expected to ascend the Seven Summits later this year.
The Seven Summits, a well-known mountaineering objective, are the highest peaks on each of the seven continents.
Climbing to the summit is regarded as a mountaineering challenge, first achieved on April 30, 1985 by Richard Bass.
The Seven Summits achievement is noted as an exploration and mountaineering accomplishment. Last Thursday, the Tanzania Association of Tour Operators (Tato) members held talks with the President of Global Expeditions Club Malaysia, Mr Ravichandran Tharumalingam, to bring at least 100 mountaineers to hike Mt Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest peak.
“I will work with Tanzania’s embassy in Malaysia to woo at least 100 Asian mountaineers to scale Mt Kilimanjaro as part of the Seven Summits challenge,” Mr Tharumalingam told Tato members.
He hinted that three volcanic peaks in Africa namely, Mt Kilimanjaro (Tanzania), Mt Kenya and Rwenzori in Uganda are part of the 2018’s Seven Summits challenge.
Mr Tharumalingam, who scaled up Mt Kilimanjaro six times, commended the Tanzania National Parks Authority (Tanapa) for conserving the flora and fauna on the continent’s highest mountain.
“There is a significant improvement on the Mt Kilimanjaro. A well conserved park and provision of quality services, thanks to improved communication skills on the part of tour guides,” he said.
Tato chief executive officer Sirili Akko, who led the talks, said the main objective for the meeting was to discuss a comprehensive approach on promotion of Tanzania’s tourist attractions to Asia, the biggest emerging travel and tourism market. Mr Akko further said that Tato has resolved to diversify its tourist market from the long-established sources of western countries and a few African nations.
Tanzania’s traditional tourist sources are the United States, Britain, Germany, Italy, France, Spain, and the Scandinavian countries.
It also receives a sizeable number of tourists from South Africa and Kenya. “We are now generously throwing open our gates for tourists from the Asian countries such as Malaysia, India, China, and Japan,” the Tato chief executive officer explained.
Arusha District Commissioner Gabriel Daqqaro praised Tato for spearheading the Public, Private Partnership in tourism, vowing to work closely with the association to lift the industry.
Wildlife tourism attracted more than 1 million guests in 2017, earning the country $2.3 billion, which is equivalent to nearly 17.6 per cent of gross domestic product.
Additionally, tourism provides 600,000 direct jobs to Tanzanians, over one million people earn incomes from tourism.
Tanzania hopes the number of tourist arrivals will hit over 1.2 million this year, up from one million visitors in 2017, earning the economy close to $2.5 billion, up from last year’s $2.3 billion.
According to the five-year marketing blueprint rolled out in 2013, Tanzania anticipates to welcome two million tourists by the close of 2020, boosting the revenue from the current $2 billion to nearly $3.8 billion.