STAKEHOLDERS in tourism and travel sectors from Tanzania and Israel have forged a partnership that will smoothen trips by groups from the two countries.
Speaking when a group of 64 Tanzanians was getting ready to jet off to Israel at the weekend, the coordinator of the journey from Excellent Guides Tanzania, Mr Harrison Chonjo, said they had struck a deal under which Tanzanian tourists would be flown by a plane that brings in those from Israel.
Mr Chonjo said they will be using Israeli flag career – El Al - that flies directly from Tel Aviv to Kilimanjaro International Airport (KIA).
He said that instead of the plane flying back almost empty, Tanzanian tourists will be boarding it, enabling the airline to make profit.
“Israelis often come to the country by their flag carrier; so we want to take advantage of that by using the same airplane to send Tanzanians to the Middle Eastern country.
This will be a direct flight that is reliable and fast,” said the coordinator. Mr Chonjo said that apart from the sensitization and inspiration they have been undertaking, trips to Israel by Tanzanians are increasing due to the fact that air transport between the two countries has improved considerably.
“Another group of Tanzanians expects to leave the country by a flight in October this year for tourism and pilgrimage in Israel. We will use the same arrangement by using Israeli planes that bring their tourists here in huge numbers to see our tourism attractions,” said Mr Chonjo.
In order to smoothen matters, Tanzanian tourism stakeholders went a step further by asking the Israeli Government to establish an embassy in Tanzania or a consulate in Arusha so as to make it easy for many Tanzanians who have been and will be travelling to Israel to get visas.
Mr Chonjo said many Tanzanians are now eager to travel to Israel, but have to process visas from the Israeli Embassy in Kenya. “There is very huge inspiration for Tanzanians to visit Israel; this is the first big group travelling to Israel.
Others are coming, and so we are asking Israel to open an embassy here so as to lower the costs for our tourists whose number will go up,” said Mr Chonjo at KIA.
The group’s leader, Rev Fr Melodius Mlowe from Njombe Catholic Diocese, said they got the Tanzanian tourists after a sensitization session they conducted, advising them to go and tap different opportunities in the desert country, and yet a successful one in sectors such as agriculture, science and technology.