What you need to know:
- Tourism continues to play a pivotal role in the nation’s economy, making significant contributions to the national income, job creation, and the accumulation of foreign currency reserves
By Friday Simbaya
Iringa. The government, through the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism (MNRT), plans to construct a sh18 billion tourism information centre in Iringa Region in a move to promote tourism in southern highland regions.
Natural Resources and Tourism minister Angellah Kairuki made the revelation over the weekend when opening the Southern Circuit TourismTanzania to construct Sh18 billion information centre to promote tourism in southern circuit Expo, popularly known in Swahili as “Karibu Kusini Tourism.”
Speaking during the event that took place at the Kihesa Kilolo Grounds, Ms Kairuki said that apart from the centre, several natural resources and tourism institutions have been encouraged to open branches in the region.
She named the institutions as the Tanzania Wildlife Research Institute (Tawiri), the College of African Wildlife Management (Mweka), the Arusha International Conference Centre (AICC), and the National College of Tourism (NCT).
“These are part of the government’s efforts to develop and promote the tourism industry in the country and specifically in the southern regions,” he said.
According to her, tourism continues to play a pivotal role in the nation’s economy, making significant contributions to the national income, job creation, and the accumulation of foreign currency reserves.
The event was attended by 10 regions in the southern highlands and aimed at showcasing the rich diversity of tourism offerings in the country.
During the launch, Ms Kairuki underscored that the sector contributes over 17 percent to the national income and accounts for more than 25 percent of foreign currency earnings, as well as employing more than 1.5 million Tanzanians.
“The industry is a major contributor. It is therefore imperative that we continue to respect and safeguard it in order to further amplify its positive impacts on the country,” said Ms Kairuki.
Furthermore, she disclosed that in the 2022/23 Fiscal Year, the tourism sector witnessed a substantial surge in tourists’ arrivals, generating billions of US dollars.
Tanzania earned $2.999 billion from tourism during the year ending July 2023, up from $1.95 billion during the preceding year, according to figures from the Bank of Tanzania (BoT).
The minister said the government was aware of the challenges facing the tourism sector, including inadequate infrastructure development at most tourist attractions, especially in the Southern Highlands.
She reassured the government’s commitments and initiatives to address the hindrances, being part of a dedicated strategy aimed at enhancing the value of tourism products in their respective circuits.
Earlier, Iringa Regional Commissioner (RC) Halima Dendego said this year’s exhibitions targeted to host 110 exhibitors, noting however that over 130 participants have taken part.
Hinting on the challenges facing the Southern Circuit, the regional chief said poor infrastructure development and the provision of services to players were the sector’s hindrance to growth.
However, she said the government, through REGROW, is committed to upgrading infrastructure, therefore improving tourism offerings in the region.
Iringa, with its vibrant Southern Tanzania Tourism Exhibition, is leading the way in harnessing the potential of Tanzania’s tourism sector.
With governmental efforts to address challenges and promote the tourism industry’s value in the Southern Highlands, the future holds great promise for the critical sector for the benefit of individual citizens and the nation at large.