DODOMA: TANZANIA’S tourism sector has earned the country 3.3 billion US dollars (about 8.25tri/-) as of December last year, thanks to the Royal Tour film starred by President Samia Suluhu Hassan.
According to the Parliamentary Committee on Land, Natural Resources and Tourism, the earnings are equivalent to 25 per cent of all foreign exchange in the country.
Tabling a report on activities undertaken by the committee in 2023 here on Thursday, Chairman Timotheo Mnzava said that tourism sector is leading in foreign exchange earnings, contributing more than 20 per cent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
He said tourism sector has recorded unprecedented statistics since the country gained independence.
“Tourism experts attribute these achievements to the efforts by President Samia Suluhu Hassan to market the sector by featuring in the Royal Tour documentary,” he said.
He said as of December last year, as per Bank of Tanzania Quarterly Economic Review of the last quarter of 2023, the number of tourists who visited the country were 1,790,301, which he said is the highest number ever recorded in the sector. In terms of employment, he said, the sector has created 1,600,000 direct employments which is equivalent to 11 per cent of all employments in the country.
The committee chair further said that, in order to ensure sustainability of the achievements, the nation must invest more in conservation sector and market tourist attractions.
He said among the backpackers who visited the country for tourism purposes 58 per cent visited the national parks while 42 per cent visited other tourist attractions including Ngorongoro Conservation Area, beaches and Zanzibar.
He noted that, the state of infrastructure in the national parks is unsatisfactory, adding that the ongoing rains in the country might affect the number of tourists visiting the country.
Mr Mnzava said that since the tourism sector has a significant contribution to the country’s economy, the National Assembly demanded the government to implement the strategies of marketing tourism under the Tanzania Tourist Board (TTB).
He said the strategy will help to realise the Chama Cha Mapinduzi target contained in its Election Manifesto 2020-2025 of increasing the number of visitors to five million per annum by the year 2025 from the current two million and also collect 6 billion US dollars (about 13.8tri/-) in revenues from the tourism sector.
The MPs also advised the government to establish Tourism Development FundTDL which will receive 1 per cent contribution of all tourism foreign exchange earnings in the country.
Mr Mnzava further said that, following miraculous results of the Royal Tour documentary featuring President Samia, plans are underway by TTB to coordinate production of four international documentaries including two which are the continuation of the Royal Tour film and two international documentaries from Hollywood.
“One of the films will be titled ‘Kijiji cha Milele’ or ‘Presidential Tour’ featuring President Samia and famous Chinese film actor Mr Jing Dong, while the other documentary will focus on the contribution of the late Father of the Nation Julius Nyerere in the liberation struggle of Africa,” he said.
Mr Mnzava added: “All these strategies require adequate funding, unfortunately, as a nation; we have not yet made deliberate efforts to promote tourism in order to achieve the desired results, like other institutions under the ministry, TTB is facing a major challenge of budget constraints.”