Tourism stakeholders urge tech adoption to unlock potential

Thursday May 12 2022
Serengeti pic
By Lilian Ndilwa

Dar es Salaam. Tourism stakeholders yesterday emphasised the need for both the government and private sector to adopt technology to promote the sector in an attempt to uplift its performance.

Tourism was Tanzania’s leading foreign exchange earner until 2019, but was overtaken by mining (gold) after the outbreak of Covid-19 ravaged the industry.

Speaking during the second day of the Innovation Week yesterday, the participants emphasised that the adoption of technology would unlock the tourism potentials.

“We cannot keep advertising tourism in and out of the country by using outdated methods. In today’s celebrations of the innovation week, we have explored how we can blend creativity with tourism in a manner that can develop it,” said Ms Mindi Kasiga, the spokesperson of the ministry of Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation.

She explained that in a world where technology keeps evolving every day, it is about time Tanzania changed how tourism is operated in the country.

“Among the things that have been discussed today is how we can use local creatives to lure in local tourists. This may be through applications and websites that are connected to tourism in the country,” she said.

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She cited an example of a travel website that was officially launched on the same occasion titled ‘Safari Wallet’ in which users can pay for their safaris to listed destinations in the country by instalments.

“With the Royal Tour having premiered recently, many people have questioned the target tourists between locals and internationals. The answer is that both parties play important roles that result in tourism development in Tanzania,” Ms Kasiga said.

For his part, deputy head of mission at the embassy of Netherlands in Tanzania Jobs Runhaar remarked that the discussion that involved tourism experts and stakeholders is also expected to bring forward solutions for sustainable tourism.

“Touring is usually referred to as ‘white peoples’ hobby’ which is untrue. With availability of technologies such as the today’s launched Safari Wallet, the number of local tourists will also increase.

Tanzania is a home of wildernesses, breathtaking beaches and national parks. These places should be explored by both local and international tourists,” he said.

The executive director of European Business Group in Tanzania, Ms Cikay Richards, who was one of the panellists in the session, said more engagements should be stirred to enhance knowledge on tourism in the country.

“Tanzanians have to own the tourist attractions in the country. This is done by engaging and exploring these places,” she said.

“It’s not an expensive activity and in efforts to make it more affordable, there are applications and websites that enable local tourists in the country to pay in instalments and visit these places across the country.”