- In 2019, just prior to the outbreak of the pandemic, Tanzania had registered a record 1.5 million visitors, earning the economy a whopping $ 2.5 billion.
Arusha. Inbound tourists visiting the country are on the rise, a clear sign of recovery from the recent calamities.
Between January and May this year, Tanzania received 458,048 tourists compared to 317,270 during the same period last year.
This is an increase of 44 percent, the minister for Natural Resources and Tourism, Dr Pindi Chana, said here yesterday.
She said the numbers were expected to rise further given bookings made by the travel agents and easing of travel restrictions.
The number of arrivals recorded from January to May is almost equivalent to a total of about 600,000 recorded in the entire 2020.
In 2019, just prior to the outbreak of the pandemic, Tanzania had registered a record 1.5 million visitors, earning the economy a whopping $ 2.5 billion.
By then - prior to 2019 - the sector contributed about 17 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP) and generated one million direct and indirect jobs for Tanzanians across the board.
Signs of rebounding tourism from the severe impacts of Covid-19 during 2020 and 2021 are much more visible in Arusha, a key northern circuit tourist centre.
Several tourist class accommodation outfits in the country’s tourism hub as well as the national parks have lately reported full bookings.
Tourists strolling around and who almost melted away like sun-baked icecaps after the outbreak of the pandemic are back.
There are also reports of flights full of incoming visitors -- especially tourists -- landing at various local destinations.
But the increased visitors from abroad and around Africa is also attributed to the rising number of meetings hosted here.
Dr Chana revealed this when she was briefing the media on the forthcoming United Nations World Tourism Organisation (WTO) conference in October this year.
She said the high profile meeting slated for October 5 to October 7 was one of the activities being initiated to boost the tourism sector.
“It is an opportunity to reach out to the international community particularly in matters related to travel and tourism,” Dr Chana explained.
For her part, the director of the UNWTO regional department for Africa, Ms Elcia Grandcourt, said it was encouraging to see Tanzania’s tourism sector recovering fast from the effects of Covid-19.
“We landed here in full flights,” she told journalists at Gran Melia Arusha, a five star outfit whose fortunes keep rising due to increased meetings and visitors.
According to her, the three-day conference is expected to attract over 300 foreign delegates being key tourism industry players from around the globe.
Ms Grandcourt lauded the “bold steps” taken by Tanzania to prepare for the meeting, including the health requirements and clean ups against solid waste, particularly, plastic.