A new report released rated Tanzania’s tourism industry as one of the fastest growing sectors in the East African country with figures showing a surge on tourist arrivals.
Alloyce Nzuki, the Deputy Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism, said the 2016 International Visitors’ Exit Survey Report indicated that the number of tourists who visited the country, continued to rise.
Nzuki said the report was jointly compiled by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism, the Bank of Tanzania (BOT), the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), the Immigration Department and the Zanzibar Commission for Tourism (ZCT).
He said that the report showed that Tanzania hosted no less than 1,284,279 tourists in 2016, compared to 1,137,156 in 2015, which was an increase of 12 per cent.
“The report shows revenues from the tourism industry have been increasing year after year with 2.1 billion dollars in 2016 against 1.9 billion dollars in 2015,” Nziku told a news conference at the launch of the report.
Nziku said in Zanzibar revenue from tourism increased by 30.4 per cent to 3.8 billion dollars in 2016 from 2.9 billion dollars earned in 2015.
He named top five sources of tourism markets as the UK, Kenya, the U.S., Germany and Italy.
He said that 75 per cent of the tourists departed through airports and 25 per cent through land border posts.
However, Nziku said about 41.2 per cent of the tourists, who visited the country, expressed concerns over poor conditions of roads and airport facilities.
He said that the government was committed to developing and promoting sustainable growth on the travel and tourism sector in the country in order to preserve its natural and cultural resources.
He said the government now focused on heavy investments in marketing, hospitality and infrastructure to boost tourism in the country, especially the southern and western tourist circuits.
“The government will also put emphasis on investments in heritage sites to attract more tourists visiting historical areas,’’ Nzuki said.
According to government data, tourism has been Tanzania’s largest foreign exchange earner since 2012, contributing an average of 2 billion dollars annually, which is equivalent to 25 per cent of all exchange earnings.
Tourism also contributes to over 17 per cent of the national gross domestic product (GPD), creating more than 1.5 million jobs.