Tanzania's Tourism sector set for record numbers as it makes full recovery


  • Between January and November lats year, the number of visitors hit 1.2 million, only 300,000 shy of the 1.5 million record set in 2019. This signifies full recovery for the sector

Arusha. No longer is it wishful thinking or a desired dream nowhere close to reality.

Tourism, the leading sector in foreign exchange generation, is on the path to full recovery from Covid-19 impact.

Between January to November last year, the number of visitors hit 1.2 million, only 300,000 short of the record 1.5 million in 2019.

While the number of the visitors dropped to 620,000 in 2020 after the outbreak of the pandemic, only about 800,000 visitors were recorded for the entire 2021.

“Comparing the figures for 2021 and eleven months of 2022, there has been a 60 percent increase”, said the Natural Resources and Tourism minister, Pindi Chana.

She revealed this yesterday during the day-long and well-attended Ministerial Public Private Dialogue she chaired at a Arusha hotel.

The forum was organized by the Tanzania National Business Council (TNBC) in collaboration with the ministry. A similar one took place mid last year.

She said that there had been a surge of foreign tourists to leading tourism sites in the country, such as national parks.

“Most of the hotels and lodges either in or close to the national parks have recorded full bookings in recent months”, she pointed out.

Until Covid-19 reared its ugly head, the sector accounted for 17.5 percent of the country’s GDP and 25 percent of forex generation.

Relaxed global travel restrictions and rolling out of the Covid-19 vaccines are not the only factors behind the quick recovery.

According to the minister, the Sh. 90.2 billion stimulus package to the sector from the government was a major boost.

However, Dr. Chana said a lot needsto be done, especially in terms of investments, to bring the tourism sector up to its desired levels.

“Let us discuss how to move forward. This includes a conducive environment. However, investments must remain a priority”, she declared.

“Investments are needed in hotels, lodges, restaurants, tented camps, tourist hunting and upgrading of all the key facilities. We need camps and lodges in the southern circuit. We are looking for partners. There are ample opportunities there”, she pointed out.

The minister said that the government will, on its part, initiate major institutional and legal reforms as well as upgrade basic infrastructure.

These include the amendment of the Tourism Act, 2007 and streamlining payment systems used by the tourists in all segments of the industry.

She insisted that Tanzania’s tourism would be more competitive with increased diversification of tourism products and upgrading of services.

“It is time that deliberate measures are made to promote our culture, heritage and convention tourism to make our offering highly competitive on global levels,” she added.

Speaking at the forum, the acting director of Tourism in the ministry, Rich Wandwi, said that stakeholders are consulting on the Tourism Act, 2007.

He hinted at the possibility of the legislation establishing the Tanzania Tourist Board (TTB) being amended to match with its current needs.

“Public views are being collected on the two legislations. Stakeholders’ views are most welcome”, he pointed out.

He stressed, however, that the success of the tourism sector would, to a large extent, hinge on efforts to conserve the key sites.

“We have to put more efforts into sustaining the sector in the wake of numerous challenges. Conservation is key for tourism development”, he said.

Earlier, Monduli District Commissioner Frank Mwaisumbe called for improved or upgraded tourism facilities so that the country would attract more visitors.

He said that although the northern circuit will remain a leading destination of the visitors, it was high time other components of the sector were promoted.