EDITORIAL: Why we must invest more in conferencing tourism

Thursday November 28 2019

Business activities, including conferences, have been increasing in recent years, making Tanzania the continental leader in the growth of such activities.

Traditionally, Tanzania has depended on national parks, Mount Kilimanjaro, historical sites and pristine beaches as its main tourist attractions.

According to the Tanzania Tourist Board (TTB), national parks and the Kilimanjaro account for nearly 90 per cent of the country’s tourism revenues.

Despite their relatively huge potential to boost tourism earnings, such activities as diving, conferences and cultural tourism have not been given the publicity they need to more effectively promote them as never-miss-out tourism attractions

To that end, Arusha International Conference Centre (AICC) executive director Elishilia Kaaya says Tanzania is steadily preparing for the Big Time regarding conference tourism that especially includes business meetings. Tanzania already has two world-class conferencing facilities in Arusha and Dar es Salaam that specifically target national, regional and international conferences.

There also are several tourist-class hotels with modern conferencing facilities – and which only need wider publicity to catch the eye and ear of conference organisers.

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Mr Kaaya says development of Tanzania’s tourism industry needs continued investments in related infrastructure and facilities that are conveniently close to the main tourist and business hubs.

Going forward, it’s important to consider investing more in state-of-the-art conference facilities that are readily accessible – and, more often than not, that enable visitors to combine business with leisure.

We believe that investing in modern business-cum-conference facilities would boost Tanzania’s chances of becoming a target of first choice for international conference organisers.

Tourism contributes nearly 18 per cent of GDP, and continued diversification of tourism activities, mainly targeting high spenders, would further boost its contribution to the economy – thus further stimulating economic growth through more jobs creation all-round.