Tourism in Tanzania has yet to peak, says VP

Dar es Salaam. Vice President Philip Mpango yesterday expressed his dissatisfaction with the contribution of the tourism sector to the national economy, calling for increased efforts to take advantage of the country’s natural resources.

He challenged public and private actors to analyze and come up with promotion strategies that would attract more tourists in order to reach the target of 5 million by 2025.

“To reach $6 billion in revenue from the sector by 2025, the number of tourists must be increased to 5 million, there is still a lot to be done. We should promote domestic tourism and attract more citizens from different groups to visit our attractions,” he said.

He was speaking at the official opening of the 6th edition of the Swahili International Tourism Expo (SITE) which started on Friday and ends today at Mlimani town here.

The event brought together more than 100 international tourism buyers and 200 exhibitors.

Dr. Mpango encouraged the financial sector to increase the use of credit cards in service delivery, noting that this move will boost tourists’ confidence.

He assured investors that Tanzania is one of the best destinations for investment and tourism due to its political stability, committed leadership, peace, supportive policy frameworks and abundant natural resources.

“I expect that through this exhibition, participants will have constructive discussions that will help the tourism sector and therefore boost the economic growth of the country,” he said.

“We are ready to receive opinions and recommendations that will be useful in addressing the available concerns that are hampering the sector,” the vice president added.

Providing insight into the issues that will lead to the rapid development of the sector, the President of the Tanzania Private Sector Foundation (TPSF), Angelina Ngalula, said areas that would ensure business continuity should be reconsidered.

According to her, policies should be adopted to promote the sustainable development of the private sector and create an environment conducive to entrepreneurship.

“The government should also facilitate a smooth transition from the informal to the formal economy, which is essential for a human-centred, inclusive, sustainable and resilient sector recovery,” she said.

“In addition, there is a need to shift to ecotourism, which is a fast-growing industry focused on conservation and job creation for locals,” she added.

Ms. Ngalula insisted that these approaches can improve the tourism sector, tap into its market and create power to sustain the economy.

“It will also create jobs and lead to development results centered on people and their communities,” she said.

At the business forum which was part of the tourism exhibition, she said that Tanzania is endowed with natural resources and comparative advantages that should be properly harnessed in order to contribute significantly to its economy.

“In addition, we are expected to invest in value-added initiatives and promote public-private partnerships (PPPs),” she said.

Carol N. Valencia