EXPANDING THE OFFER

Tanzania 2014 | TOURISM | INTERVIEW

TBY talks to Aloyce K. Nzuki, Managing Director of the Tanzania Tourist Board, on developments geared toward turning tourism into the number one contributor to GDP by 2025.

Aloyce K. Nzuki
BIOGRAPHY
Aloyce K. Nzuki is Managing Director of the Tanzania Tourist Board

In 2012, Tanzania finally reached the long-sought goal of welcoming over 1 million visitors. What were the biggest factors in finally reaching this target?

Tanzania has continued to be a very stable country politically. When talking about general safety and security, we have been fortunate. We are one of the few countries in Africa that has not seen any unrest or instability. This has been a huge milestone with regard to winning the trust of visitors worldwide. Secondly, Tanzania has continued to enjoy the limelight with many international leaders, notably American and European, coming over to Tanzania. Tanzania is seen predominantly as a safari destination, and our assets, ranked second after Brazil in terms of beauty and abundance, are predominantly the wildlife. This has given us considerable leverage that has fueled 24% growth in tourism over the past year from 870,000 visitors to over 1 million.

How are you balancing the need for conservation with your vision to make tourism the largest contributor to GDP?

Technology will play a part. First of all, we should have an arrangement where people can book well in advance. Also, we want to diversify beyond from exiting parks such as the Serengeti and Ngorongoro by developing new zones in remoter areas. The southern part of the country has some beautiful destinations, such as Ruaha National Park, a future icon. One problem is the shortage of accommodation facilities in the south. Tanzania National Parks (TANAPA) has concluded an investment prospectus identifying designated tracts of land to be leased to investors. There are several plots that will be available for investment in Ruaha and Katavi national parks. Likewise, Selous, which is a game reserve under a different jurisdiction, still has plots available for investors. The Southern Circuit boasts great potential, and we appreciate outstanding challenges regarding infrastructure, which are being addressed. However, product diversification is also possible, and the idea of developing beach tourism is something the President has particularly emphasized. Currently, the Ministry is drafting policy aimed at exploiting our 804 kilometers of coastline by creating tourist resorts. Some plots will belong to the government, while others attract private ownership.

The Tanzania Tourist Board (TTB) has a vision to make tourism the number one contributor to GDP by 2025. What are the main tasks that you as TTB will have to do to achieve this?

There are a number of interventions that will be required. I would categorize them under product development, accessibility, and information dissemination. Product development includes infrastructure development to try and promote beach tourism by allowing new investments in those areas. There is also the business of events and conventions. By building facilities such as the Julius Nyerere International Conference Center, we attract related events. We want to expand tourism a wider audience. With regards to accessibility, while the government is doing everything possible to develop a strong airline, we are waiting for international airlines, too. We have a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Ethiopian Airlines and we are just about to conclude a MoU with Qatar Airways. It is assisting us in facilitating travel from different parts of the world into not only Dar es Salaam, but Kilimanjaro as well, which has been underserved. Turkish Airlines also now flies directly from Istanbul. As for the promotional campaigns, we pursue specific strategies in fewer markets instead of spreading ourselves too thin, including our traditional markets, as well as emerging ones, notably the BRICs. In addition, we are currently proposing a transformation of TTB from being just a promoter to being an actual authority.