Excitement grips tourism sector as Harris jets in

AS the ‘Air Force Two’ kisses the Julius Nyerere International Airport’s (JNIA) runway today, tourism stakeholders will definitely be rubbing their hands.

Perhaps, this signals the prospects of the visit of the second in command in the Oval Office.

A section of players in the 2billion US dollars (about 5tri/-) a year industry have expressed their optimism as Kamala Harris begins her three-day tour of the country.

The ecstatic stakeholders confided to the ‘Daily News’ on Tuesday that they are harboring high hopes over the visit, much as the world’s powerful economy boasts of the highest number of tourists who visit Tanzania every year.

While welcoming the US Deputy President to the arguably renowned and unrivalled tourism, the Tanzania Association of Tour Operators (TATO) is optimistic that the high profile visit will open Ms Harris’s eyes on what the body terms as endless investment opportunities.

“Her trip will certainly boost the sector in terms of visibility,” observed Mr Sirili Akko, TATO Chief Executive Officer.

He deemed the visit as critical in opening up Tanzania to credible and ethical American investors and investors from other parts of the world.

“Her visit will leave an indelible mark that Tanzania is a must visit destination for both business and leisure,” Mr Akko explained.

According to statistical tourist arrivals bulletin seen by this paper, as of last year, the United States of America recorded the highest number of arrivals from the rest of the world at 100,600, followed by France (100,371), Germany (67,718), the United Kingdom (60,116) and Poland (46,431).

In a telephone interview with this writer yesterday, the chairperson of Northern Tanzania Safari Guides Society, Mr Engelbert Aloyce oozed confidence that the much-awaited visit will serve a strong message to the world that Tanzania was the safest place to go.

The tour operator underscored the importance of Ms Harris’s three-day state visit to the country in luring more US nationals to the country.

“We all know how conscious the Americans are as far as their safety is concerned, therefore we will definitely see more of them coming in droves,” he said.

Mr Aloyce attributed peace and security that Tanzania enjoyed since its birth as a reason why more Americans opt for the country as their preferred destination.

“That is certainly one of the pulling factors that has seen more and more Americans sampling various attractions in the country,” he argued.

While some African countries have over the years seen their tourism and hospitality industries going on their knees, Tanzania has continued enjoying an influx of tourists, thanks to its peace and security.

While everyone seemed to be engrossed in the 2018 World Cup in Russia, former United States President Barack Obama discreetly landed at the Kilimanjaro International Airport (KIA).

This was not an official visit that would otherwise be dominated by speeches, convoy of vehicles and sirens; this was a purely a strictly private visit (accompanied by his family) by a man who traces his origin in Africa to Tanzania, a country endowed with an array of attractions.

During his eight days in the country, the 44th President of the US visited the Serengeti National Park and enjoyed the best wildlife viewing in the world.

Much as he had missed the Great Migration, Obama enjoyed seeing the dense lion population in the park and all members of the big five, without forgetting the almost 500 bird species found in the park.

This can simply be summed up by his own words describing how thrilled he was to have visited the Serengeti.

He even pledged to market Tanzania’s natural resources wealth upon his return to the US.

According to the then Minister for Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation, the late Augustin Mahiga, the former US President was thrilled by the Serengeti National Park.

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