IN a bid to promote tourism in the country after the initial pandemic Covid-19 scare, there is a need to focus on new strategies given the importance of the sector in the country’s economy as well as job creation to the locals.
On the vein, the ‘Daily News’ had an interview with the Tanzania Tourist Board (TTB) Acting Public Relations Manager, Christine Kamuzora and below is the excerpt:
QUESTION (Q): In 2018, the Government of Tanzania through some ministries announced that, in collaboration with Tanzania Tourist Board (TTB) you will establish a special unit to attract tourists through a programme you named the National Convention Bureau, is there any progress so far made?
ANSWER (A): TTB has established the MICE Unit (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Events), which is specifically for promoting conference tourism. TTB is partnering with the AICC International Conference Centre in Arusha to build the capacity of the existing staff in this unit. So far the unit has succeeded in: -
• Providing training to stakeholders in Arusha, Dodoma and Dar-es-Salaam;
• Preparing an inventory reference book for service providers, as well as MICE facilities available in the country;
• Preparing a Handbook called ‘Destination.’
Q: Last year TTB held meetings with Tanzanian ambassadors in various countries around the world with the aim of further opening our tourism industry, we would like to know the achievements made?
A: Meetings with ambassadors held last year 2020 aimed to engage our Embassy Offices and recommended to them on how to promote tourism in this period the world is going through the Covid-19 challenge. The successes that have been achieved through these meetings include: -
• Received proposals for joint tourism activities with our Ambassadors located in various countries around the world and received cost proposals related to tourism promotion in the countries they oversee, so that during the preparation of the Government budget, TTB can allocate funds for implementation in a timely manner.
• Embassies have been able to help distribute to the international markets the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) prepared by the Government in collaboration with stakeholders that show Tanzania’s readiness to receive visitors and prevent the transmission of Covid-19.
• By partnering with our Ambassadors to conduct research, we recommended and persuaded celebrities to be ambassadors for voluntary tourism, we have successfully acquired a new voluntary tourism ambassador from Sweden, who is Mr Hazze Sandstrom, appointed in September, 2020.
• Ambassadors have been able to monitor the situation or trends of tourism and tourists from the region/country and advise TTB on the best ways to attract markets in their countries.
• Ambassadors have been involved in encouraging International Media Organizations and celebrities to come to Tanzania. Through their efforts, TTB has been able to receive journalists from the French media and business groups from the Czech, Japanese, Oman, UAE, Kuwait, Turkey and Spain.
• We succeeded in translating articles, journals, video clips and other material that TTB prepared from English or Kiswahili into the languages that the embassy in question represents. The Tanzanian Ambassador to China, has successfully opened the Website in Chinese.
• Distributed tourism advertising materials to various people, either directly or through social media.
• Seeking opportunities to conduct interviews in the international media to reassure citizens from the countries they govern, to believe that Tanzania is safe, in order to advance the efforts being made to revive tourism in the country.
• Ambassadors have also continued to hold meetings with tourism agents from the countries they oversee via the Internet to brief them on the ongoing efforts regarding Tanzania’s tourism. Despite holding such meetings last year (2020), tourism has not returned to its normal state, as most of the countries in which it operates still have their citizens on travel bans or rallies due to the pandemic Covid-19 scare.
Q: Various stakeholders of the Tourism Sector in the country including the Government, Authorities and Departments responsible for tourism issues, have continued to promote local tourism. What steps has TTB taken to support the growth of domestic tourism?
A: In promoting local tourism; • TTB has developed a strategy for promoting local tourism that will provide a vision of how the industry will be able to promote domestic tourism.
• TTB has continued to provide education through various exhibitions and concerts in the country including World Tourism Week, Sabasaba, Nanenane, Serengeti Cultural Festival, Hydom Tourism Festival, Near South, Heritage Month Festival, East Africa Trade Fair Mwanza, Lamadi Tourism Festival, Jama Fest, Nyasa Tourism Exhibition and Water Memorial Memorial Songea.
• TTB uses electronic and online platforms to promote local tourism.
• TTB continues to work with stakeholders (Tour Operators) to prepare affordable packages to attract various cadres of Tanzanians to visit the country’s attractions, for example “Valentine Mbughani”, “Women and Tourism,” “Ngorongoro Challenge”
• In the Lake Region and Arusha Region, TTB in collaboration with National Parks and National Museums, has visited various schools and colleges and provided tourism education to students with the aim of building their awareness about tourism.
• TTB has continued to use voluntary tourism ambassadors and celebrities in the country to promote local tourism.
Q: Congratulations on supporting the efforts to protect and develop the Tourism Sector even during the Covid-19 disaster; How did we (as the media) manage to continue promoting tourism through you/ TTB?
A: In fulfilling its responsibilities to advertise and attract tourists during the Covid-19 transmission period, TTB carried out the following activities:
• TTB was able to meet with stakeholders involved in the domestic and international tourism business, to discuss how best to run their businesses in accordance with Government Guidelines (SOPs) with the aim of protecting visitors and locals from Covid-19 transmission.
• TTB has continued to strengthen the use of Information Communication and Technology (ICT), and social networks in promoting tourism.
• TTB prepared Video Clips and translated them in collaboration with Tanzanian Ambassadors. The videos showed how ready Tanzania is to receive tourists, and show that Tanzania is safe for them to come.
• Tanzania received the WTTC Travel Stamp issued by the World Tourism Organization in recognition of the fact that our country was safe for tourists to come.
• In collaboration with Tanzanian Ambassadors Abroad, TTB has continued to organize visits of foreign journalists and bloggers to Tanzania for recording or writing good stories about Tanzania’s attractions and posting on their social networks or promoting them on their media outlets. .
• TTB has continued to use prominent people and voluntary ambassadors in promoting tourist attractions in the country.
• TTB has participated in Meetings, Conferences via the Internet (Zoom) in new tourism markets such as Turkey, Czech, Russia, Ukraine, Poland etc. These efforts bore fruit as by October 2020 and onwards; Tanzania receives large groups of tourists from various countries visiting Tanzania’s attractions, especially Zanzibar, Ngorongoro, Serengeti etc.
• TTB in collaboration with other stakeholders in the Tourism Sector were able to design and implement various programs to promote domestic tourism.
The “Valentine Mbugani”, “CRDB Mbugani”, NMB staff, all aimed at middleincome people and took place in 2020, with a total of 152 tourists visiting the Serengeti National Park, Manyara and Ngorongoro Conservation Area. Other campaigns were conducted through TTB Arusha and Mwanza offices by sending staff, college students and regular students to tourist attractions in their regions.
Q: We have seen the Government’s responsibility to develop tourism to increase revenue collection from the sector. What are the statistical achievements?
A: Statistics from January 2016 to December 2019 show an increase in the number of tourists from 1,137,182 million (2016) to 1,527,230 million tourists (2019)
• With the arrival of these tourists, the nation has experienced an increase in tourism revenue collection (USD) from 1,901.95 billion (2016) to 2,612 billion (2019)
Q: According to data provided by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism show that in 2018 Tanzania was visited by 79,852 tourists from the region of Asia and Australasia. And since Asia has millions of tourist enthusiasts, what is the plan to increase the number of newcomers to Tanzania?
A: TTB continues with the procurement process to find a Public Relations and Marketing Agents in China market for advertisement purposes and attract more Chinese tourists;
• TTB continues to open websites in various languages in those countries, and has already launched a website in Chinese on the WEIBO account. It also partners with the BAIDU network in China (Baidu has the second largest search engine in the world, and held a 76.05 per cent market share in China’s search engine market) made short videos about Tanzanian tourism in their project called “Wonder Planet ”
• TTB continues to appoint voluntary ambassadors as well as use prominent Chinese nationals and elsewhere from the Asia-Australasia region to increase awareness of Tanzania’s attractions. For example, in China there is Ms. Haiqing (Maudodou) and Mr. He Leihui. In Hong Kong, TTB is working with Mr. Simon Yam who is a famous Hong Kong actor in promoting Tanzanian tourist attractions.
• TTB continues to organize training tours for journalists and photographers from various media outlets in the region for tours and attractions in Tanzania. One such device is CCTV from China.
• TTB is determined to attend trade fairs and conferences and to have the opportunity to promote Tanzania’s attractions. Following the Covid-19 disaster, TTB has attended the ZOOM network Travel IZMIR and Portugal Webinar conferences.
• TTB in collaboration with the Tanzanian Ambassador to Malaysia, plans to place short films depicting Tanzanian tourism in Tanzanian tourism companies that will enter into a joint venture with Lions Group Batik Air & Malindo, as recommended by the Malaysian Ambassador, once those direct flights start from Jakarta Indonesia to Tanzania (Charter Flights).
Q: How much has the development of the Air Transport Sector in the country during the Fifth Phase Government contributed to the statistical growth of the tourism industry?
A: When the Fifth Phase President came to power, Tanzania had only one plane, and so the tourism market was not what it is now, when the country has eight (8) planes.
We do not have statistics on the extent to which the arrival of eight aircraft has contributed to the growth of tourism to this day, but before the challenge of Covid-19, Tanzania witnessed many travelers from Burundi- Bujumbura, Mumbai-India, Comoros Islands, Harare-Zimbabwe, Lusaka- Zambia and Entebbe-Uganda entering the country, either for tourism or doing business.
Similarly, ATCL trips have made it easier for locals to travel easily from one region to another for economic activities or to travel with relatives, friends and even to travel. at the attractions of Zanzibar, Kilimanjaro Region, Manyara, Katavi, Burigi, etc.
ATCL has also launched a new Dar-Songea flight route that will open up tourism to the south, Mpanda and others and this assures us that, to a large extent the arrival of flights from one flight in 2015 to eight flights in 2020, has contributed to the growth of tourism in the country.
We still have the challenge of Covid-19 in the world, which has significantly affected the tourism industry, but we are confident that, in the near future, tourism will improve again, as efforts to find a vaccine to prevent the spread of Covid-19 continue to be tested in global research and eventually Tanzanian flights will resume in the countries that were doing the route.