Dar es Salaam envoy to lead second VIP safari from US

According to a statement issued by the Tanzania Tourist Board representative in the United States, Ms Karen Hoffman, the VIP safari has been scheduled to take place on June 22 to July 3, this year, in a quest to discover Tanzania. 

The statement said that through the journey with Ms Maajar, participants would be able to enjoy Tanzania’s natural and cultural attractions as well as explore business and investment opportunities.  “The safari will also feature two exclusive dinners, one in Dar es Salaam with President Jakaya Kikwete and the second with the Zanzibar President, Dr Ali Mohamed Shein,” the statement said. 

According to the World Bank’s Tanzania: Country Briefs, Tanzania is becoming one of the best performers in Sub-Saharan Africa…in recent years growth in gross domestic product (GDP) averaged between 5 and 7 per cent.    The potential for Direct Foreign Investment (FDI) in the country is huge in such a diverse range of industries as tourism, energy, agriculture, infrastructure, transportation and mining.   

“Tanzania is rich in natural resources and natural wonders, including world-renowned tourist attractions (Serengeti National Park, Mt. Kilimanjaro, Ngorongoro Crater and the spice islands of Zanzibar); prime geographical location (six landlocked countries depend on Tanzanian ports); abundant arable land; a skilled labour force; warm, friendly people and assurance of safety,” Ms Maajar said in the statement.   

Pike Electric Corp Vice-President Ken Flechler, who was present in last year’s safari with his family said that apart from the natural beauty and the excitement of the safari, the trip afforded Pike the chance to strengthen relationships and develop new ones.  “This is an exciting time to be part of Tanzania's development, growth and expansion. Pike looks forward to becoming an integral part of the country's future and a key partner in developing a strong partnership with the United States,” he said in the statement. 

The 2012 VIP safari will include a trip to Arusha to see the national parks, then a dinner with President Kikwete and President Shein, a visit to Lake Manyara, seeing the Ngorongoro Crater, flying to the Selous Game Reserve, participating in VIP activities on the opening day of Saba Saba and optional extensions to the Spice Islands.     

Meanwhile, tour operators have been urged to be more dynamic in their marketing approaches if they are to effectively take advantage of the numerous tourism attractions.  The Tanzania Tourist Board (TTB) Research and Development Manager, Mr Deogratias Malogo said during a seminar with tour operators in Dar es Salaam that the aim was to familiarise the operators marketing approaches on penetrating the US market. 

“We are meeting here to strategise on the best ways to effectively enter the market. Previously, we have relied on road shows, exhibitions and commercial advertising to promote the country, but we need to incorporate these with online marketing, use of blogs, attractive websites and social media,” he said.   The NTA President, Ms Lisa Simon said that travllers today, of all ages, were choosing vacations that integrate “travel with purpose” – which meant the trip satisfied their personal or preferred interests and desire for authentic experiences.  

“They want to participate in things that are of special interest to them, like their faith, adventure, music, culinary and birding. They want to do and experience new things – new cultures, new activities, new destinations.  So let’s look at some of those special interest markets,” Ms Simon explained.  NTA is an international association for tour operators and packaged travel businesses.

It was historically a domestic organization, serving primarily US and Canada, however, as the world became smaller and consumers became more global, so too did NTA tour operators. As a result,  about 10 years ago, it began to expand with international members.  She said, for instance, that faith-based tourism includes mission groups as well as people of a shared faith who simply want to travel together.

Tourists can explore the faith history and heritage of Tanzanians, interact with local church communities and volunteer with church projects, in schools and health centres.  A recent study showed that a third of Americans is interested in taking a faith-based trip, stating that it is  $18 billion industry.  A total of 408,000 Americans travelled to Africa in 2010, which was a 2 per cent increase over 2009 – 55,000. Americans travelled specifically to Tanzania, which is a sizable share, given the number of countries in Africa.

The US is Tanzania’s third source market following Italy and the UK as the number 1 and number 2 source markets. However, Italy is the top market for Zanzibar, not the mainland, so when you take it out - the US is the second source market.

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