TANZANIA’s aviation industry is of critical importance to the economic development of the country and to strategic economic sectors like tourism and trade.
Air transport is the preferred method of access to Tanzania for international visitors and, therefore, the sector has proven to be both important and heavily relied upon.
The ruling CCM through its 2020-2025 election manifesto pledges to further enhance the country’s aviation industry by purchasing five more aircraft and create a favourable environment for an increase in the number of tourists to five million.
Dr John Magufuli said his government intends to create a stronger national flag carrier by purchasing five new aircraft.
“We plan to buy five new aircrafts - two intercontinental planes, two for regional routes and a cargo plane to boost business related to horticulture products, frozen meat, fish fillet, seafood and other perishables,” Dr Magufuli said.
He added that the government will also strengthen the National Institute of Transport (NIT) to enable it produce aviation experts in different transport cadres.
“These measures will not only stimulate economic activities but also make Tanzania a regional transport hub,” he said.
Reviving Air Tanzania Company Limited (ATCL) was one of the Chama Cha Mapinduzi priorities in its 2015- 2020 Election Manifesto.
In his five years’ administration, President Magufuli’s government purchased eight planes - two Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner, two Airbus A-220-300 and four Dash 8-Q400.
The purchase of the aircrafts in the next five years will boost ATCL operations since it will have a total of 16 aircraft, thus conquering domestic, regional and international markets.
In his first five-year term, President Magufuli purchased a total of 11 planes, three of which are yet to be delivered.
Moreover, the government is also continuing with the renovation, expansion and construction of airports in various parts of the country.
Earlier, it was announced that over 100bn/- had been allocated for construction, upgrading and rehabilitation of airports as part of the efforts to uplift the aviation industry.
Some of the airports under the plan include Msalato (Feasibility study) Kigoma, Sumbawanga, Tabora and Shinyanga airports. Others include Musoma, Songwe, Mwanza, Arusha, Mtwara, Kilimanjaro and many others.
President Magufuli said that the government plans to increase the number of tourists to five million in the next five years and boost revenue from the sector from US dollars 2.9 billion to US dollars 6 billion.
However, with all these plans, the aviation sector stands tall to contribute largely to the growth of the industry.
To realize the plan, Dr Magufuli said the government will widen tourism attractions by promoting conference, hunting and beach tourism and also build infrastructure that will enable tourism vessels to market the country’s tourist’s sites.
According to the “2018 International Visitors Exit Survey Report” , the number of tourists in Tanzania increased to 1.5 million in 2018 compared to 1.3 million in 2017.
According to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism, tourism activities generated $2.4bn in 2018, an increase of 7.2 per cent from $2.3bn earned in 2017.
An increase in the number of tourists was largely attributed to the ongoing promotional efforts by the fifth phase government coupled with beautiful tourist attractions in the country.
The report showed that top 15 source markets accounted for 71.8 per cent of total visitors with the United States taking the lead for accounting for 15.6 per cent, followed by Kenya and the UK. According to the report, globally internal tourist arrivals increased by 6.1 per cent to 1.4 billion in 2018 from 1.3 billion recorded in 2017, noting that the increase was driven by a favourable economic environment and strong outbound demand from major source markets.
“Basing on these findings, the number of tourists in Tanzania has increased twice compared to international arrivals... this is a roaring success, but were are working hard to diversify tourist attractions instead of relying solely on wildlife,” Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism, Prof Adolf Mkenda says.
He said the survey further revealed that tourists entering the country and who spent a lot were from those aged 63 and above, who accounted for 6.1 per cent and, therefore, strategies were being put in place to attract more tourists of the same age gap because he said the point was not to have many tourists, but to increase revenue.
According to him, the overall expenditure in Tanzania per person per night increased to $193.0 compared to 162.0 recorded in 2017, while the average expenditure per person per night for visitors who came under a package tour arrangement was $331.0, while that of non-package visitors was $331.0.