TZ needs more hotel beds to accommodate expected tourists boom

THE Acting Director of Tourism with the Ministry of Tourism and Natural Resources Dr Thereza Mugobi has decried shortage of hotel beds as the country prepares to host five million tourists in the next two years.

Detailing on the current tourism trend at the weekend, she said Tanzania needs more hotel beds as it braces for the influx of visitors.

According to Dr Mugabi, the sector was growing fast, resulting in overbooking of high-class hotels.

“Low bed occupancy has been the Achilles’ heel and is likely to lock out tourists from accessing destination Tanzania,” she said.

The Director of Tourism noted that scarcity of rooms was a challenge to the investors to put up more hotels in areas with high influx of visitors.

Dr Mugabi insisted that the $2 billion a year industry was rapidly growing, with peak seasons, resulting into overbooking of high-class hotels.

Besides low bed occupancy, Dr Mugabi was also quick to point out a number of challenges marring the sector.

They include low tax base of tourism products, provision of quality service, stiff competition from international markets and a huge dependence on international markets in sourcing tourists, according to Dr Mugabi.

“Despite the intermittent challenges, the sector is headed towards a clear direction, but we need your close cooperation,” she told a host of tourism stakeholders here on Friday.

The challenges notwithstanding, Dr Mugabi said the country was still banking on international and traditional markets for tourists.

According to the Director of Tourism, traditional markets include France, United Kingdom, the Netherlands and Germany.

She revealed that Tanzania was also setting sight in capturing Russia and the United Arab Emirates as new emerging markets.

By 2022, Tanzania hosted about 1.4 million tourists. Tourism and the hospitality sector in general employs around 1.6 million people, both directly and indirectly.

The industry also contributes 25 per cent of foreign exchange.

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