Tanzania Representative, East African Tourism Platform (EATP)
The EATP is a regional tourism platform within the East African Community (EAC), with an apex body made up of each of the tourism private sector agencies from member states, such as the Tanzania Tourism Confederation, and similar representatives from Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, and Burundi. In addition to the apex body, we have included two other associations: the hospitality sector and tour operator associations. The idea behind the EATP was to create a vehicle for brainstorming ideas about tourism that can then filter into the EAC decision-making process in general. Promoting links between Tanzania, Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda, and Burundi in the tourism sector has been vital for all nations to promote intra and inter-regional tourism, share experiences, overcome challenges, monitor their progress, and refine their industries. Currently all five EAC member states more or less promote similar natural wildlife resources—beaches, lakes, mountains, and culture in general. However, we still have differentiations in these products. There some strong products like the Serengeti, Ngorongoro, Kilimanjaro, and Zanzibar in Tanzania; a unique gorilla experience in Rwanda; and the Masai Mara in Kenya, which are stand out products and will continue to be promoted individually. Long term, the idea is to create a packaged product with an integrated marketing strategy.
Managing Director, Destination Zanzibar
Zanzibar has a rich culture and history; this alone should be attraction enough to visit the region. We have one of the oldest histories in East Africa, dating back to the Stone Age. That said, we will always remain primarily a beach destination, and we cannot change that, nor should we try to. However, it is important to diversify the message we put out there to attract different crowds. Zanzibar has never been hugely well known for its MICE offerings, though in the past five years we have seen some significant improvements on this front. Events on the island are given a higher profile—from film festivals, which have been around here for the last 15 years or so, to food and music events, which are on the rise—and we see the tourism community placing considerable focus on this front. Strategically, we at Destination Zanzibar seek to promote tourism from the GCC. This is the region to which we are more directly connected, as it is just a five-hour flight from almost any GCC city to Zanzibar. While there are a few direct flights connecting Zanzibar with Paris or London, there are direct links with airlines such as Qatar Airways and Oman Air, or from destinations such as Dubai. This has increased the possibility of bringing in more tourists, including business tourists.
Owner & Manager, Julia Bishop
You could describe the tourism industry in Zanzibar as mature, although for the right sort of investors, not yet entirely saturated. There are still areas opening up in Zanzibar that have potential for investors in tourism properties, and these help local employment providing the staff, goods, and services necessary for their function. For example, there is certainly space in the market for smaller properties and owner-managed places, in particular private houses and villas. We have seen trends starting to move away from large hotels, particularly with the beach extensions of the Tanzanian safari industry. My concept was to build a number of small beach houses that could accommodate 15 guests as singles, couples, or small groups of families and friends. This concept presents a contrast from the more traditional family beach resorts and hotels but is by no means the only approach. The good thing about the way the tourism industry in Zanzibar has developed is that there is something for everyone, from local style budget beach bungalows and dorms for volunteers and students to beautifully converted town houses in Stone Town and four- and five-star holiday resorts.
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