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Tanzania tops Africa's global tourism destinations … as Botswana says, ‘come here, boy’

TANZANIANS need not worry about their immediate neighbours, Kenya any more; the country should worry about Botswana down south, a force to reckon with in the industry.

Still ranking at Number One in Africa, Tanzania remains the most preferred destination by foreign visitors during leisure travels on the continent, topping the bill in the latest ratings compiled by 'Safari Bookings' an authoritative global travel portal.

Kenya is further down at position Four while another East African country, Uganda, takes the 'seventh' position, judging from combined 18 'expert' and 485 'traveller' reviews as well as the outlook of six syndicate media outlets in the United Kingdom, the United States and Australia.

Tanzania takes the first position, followed by Botswana, Zambia and finally Kenya in the fourth position, which means Arusha, the country's Safari capital, should direct its energy down south, where there are two new competitors and not Kenya.

Targeting to up the tourists' number to 2 million by 2020, Tanzania currently receives around 1.4 million foreign visitors, but 80 per cent of these sample the Northern Zone Circuit comprising of Serengeti National Park, Ngorongoro Crater and Mount Kilimanjaro.

In the latest listing, South Africa, Namibia, Uganda and Zimbabwe are ranked in the fifth, sixth, Seventh and Eighth positions respectively, according to the compilation by Safari Bookings which previously also released the ranking of best National Parks in Africa.

So how is Kenya no longer Tanzania's competitor in Tourism? The Director of Tourism and Marketing for the Tanzania National Parks (TANAPA), Mr Ibrahim Mussa has an explanation.

"Kenya relies on mostly tourists arriving at its ports aboard Cruise Ships, these however simply indulge in day visits and go back to their liners at night then set off to other destination without exactly sampling what the country has to offer," revealed Mr Mussa.

Tanzania, according to the expert, gets tourists who spend between 5 and 7 days in the country and most visit more than one destination, with the majority returning for repeated experience.

Ms Ariadne Van Zandbergen from South Africa wrote this in Safari-Bookings; "Having travelled all over the continent, people often ask me: 'What is your favourite country in Africa?'

It is a silly question, but it is easier just to give an answer than to start to explain about what makes each country special and unique." "My answer is usually Tanzania.

Its northern safari circuit is reminiscent of Kenya, but on a bigger scale. The lesser-known southern and western circuits are like different safari destinations in their own right. The combination of grandness and diversity in Tanzania is unrivalled," she summed.

Safari-Bookings is the largest online marketplace for African safari tours which combs the continent, comparing offers from 2,220 specialised tour operators; nearly 150 destination guides; major media outlets and nearly 1500 tour experts who churn out 35,387 professional travel reviews.

Tanzania received an average of 4.8 out of 5.0 from early 20 experts' reviews and the country again got 4.8 out of 5.0 from 485 users (travellers or essentially tourists who have visited local attractions here).

Travel writers Tim Bewer and Ms Mary Fitzpatrick from the United States; Mr Kim Wildman from Australia, Mr Stephen Cunliffe and Philip Briggs from South Africa all gave Tanzania a combined 5.0 out of 5.0 ranking or 100 per cent.

Some of the syndicate media organisations working with Safari-Bookings include 'The Times' of London; 'Travel Africa Magazine,' 'CNN Travel,' 'The Australian,' and 'Chicago Tribune.'

…..AfDB report backs middle-income ...

Author: From MARC NKWAME in Arusha

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