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EDITORIAL: TOURISM DRIVE DIRECTED AT CHINA IS COMMENDABLE

Friday January 15 2021

The government has embarked on an ingenious system for the promotion of the country’s tourism in China. Without a doubt, China has a vast potential as a tourist source market. This is largely on account of its fast-growing nominal gross domestic product (GDP) – estimated at $15.2 trillion in 2020 – and an equally fast-growing population that was 1.44 billion-strong in 2020.

The foregoing positives – coupled with Tanzania’s tourism potential in terms of unique tourist attraction sites that include (but are by no means limited to) Unesco-recognised/proclaimed World Heritage Sites – make it both imperative and irresistible to bring the two sides together.

It is to this noble end, therefore, that Tanzania has launched a special ‘Post Card’ programme which is intentionally designed to attract and capture high-end tourists from China (and beyond) as a matter of course.

In that regard, Tanzania’s ambassador to China, Mr Mbelwa Kairuki, working in close cooperation with some 17 Chinese companies in the high-end tourist business, together formally launched the ‘Post Card’ system on December 21, 2020 to promote Tanzanian tourism.

Likewise, the Tanzania Tourist Board (TTB) in Dar es Salaam on Monday, January 11 this year – working in close cooperation with the Chinese Embassy in the country – also signed postcards under the Post Card programme to promote Tanzanian tourism in China.

Generally, the signed postcards highlight the country’s tourist attractions, even as they set out to assure potential-cum-prospective tourists of their security and safety when touring Tanzania.

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Personal safety and security

This latter bit about personal safety and security is considered a crucial element not only to the special ‘Post Card’ programme to promote Tanzanian tourism in China, but also to the tourism business in general as the viral Covid-19 pandemic continues to ravage national economies and humanity across the world.

China is still a relatively new source market for tourists to Tanzania, as only a little over 32,000 Chinese tourists visited the United Republic in 2018. But, the Covid-19 monster wreaked havoc on international travel, with the country currently receiving about 5,000 tourist arrivals a year since then.

Few as Chinese tourist arrivals are in Tanzania today, they nonetheless are among the top three biggest spenders among foreign tourists not only in Tanzania, but also elsewhere in much of the world.

Hence the advisability of Tanzania to strengthen and focus its tourism marketing campaigns outside its hitherto traditional ‘Western’ tourist source markets and, instead, refocus and strengthen the campaigns on China and other up-coming source markets.

After all, China has been hosting the Beijing International Travel Mart (BITM), a preferred platform for showcasing tourist destinations, attractions, travel packages, products and services.

As we reported in these pages yesterday, TTB is in focused dialogue with Tanzanian Embassies and High Commissions abroad on how best to attract more tourists to our country. This is in genuine efforts to meet President Magufuli’s set goal of five million tourists a year – both local and foreign – by 2025.

Go on, TTB; GET IT DONE, we heartily say!