Arusha. Spain could become one of the leading sources of tourists to Tanzania if the current marketing drive is sustained.
Industry players are optimistic the number of visitors from the Iberia peninsula state may overtake those from other source countries with aggressive marketing. “There has been an increasing trend in recent years. This is encouraging,” said Judge Thomas Mihayo, the chairman of the Tanzania Tourist Board (TTB).
He said TTB was planning to have a permanent representation in Spain to market the country’s attractions while Spanish travel agents are making a foothold in Tanzania.
“Ours will be a sub office to offer vital information on Tanzania,” he said on Monday when speaking to a group of travel agents from Spain at the end of their week long visit.
The 16 person group have been to various sites in the northern tourist circuit. The trip was coordinated by TTB and the local tour operators.
The sites included the world famous Serengeti National Park, the Ngorongoro Crater and the cultural insights in Lake Eyasi basin.
Other were Lake Manyara and Tarangire national parks, Maasai cultural bomas and the cycling safaris and the attractive geologic structures in the zone.
Ms Liber Garcia, a tour operator from Bilbao in Spain, said they were amazed to see Tanzanians happy even though Covid-19 was ravaging across the world. “We don’t see any panic over the epidemic. We are going back to Spain to tell our people there was no problem in Tanzania although the parks are near empty”, she said.
She added they were amazed by the Serengeti NP, in particular, due to the park’s wildlife splendour which included the highly endangered black rhino.
Javier Villayandre, the Africa product manager with the Spain-based Surma Expediciones, said they would bring 200 tourists to Tanzania between next month and October.
The travel firm had organized the trip in collaboration with TTB and Qatar Airways which has resumed its flights to Kilimanjaro International Airport (KIA).
A local tour guide Joseph A.Sirikwa said the increasing number of visitors from Spain has seen firms from the Iberian country penetrating the Tanzanian market.
Spain is the 14th largest economy by nominal Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the world, with a ‘permanent invitation’ status to the G20 summits.
Its economy relies heavily on its multi-billion dollar tourism industry and is also the headquarters of the World Tourism Organization (WTO)