By Theopista Nsanzugwako
Beijing — Tanzania envisages increasing the number of Chinese tourists to 100,000 and 300,000 by next year and 2025, respectively, from the current 20,000.
In exclusive interviews with the ‘Daily News’ at the sidelines of the China Outbound International Travel and Tourism Market here, Tanzania’s representatives at the event decried what they termed as unsatisfactory number of tourists from China.
Representing the country at the event are Tanzania Tourist Board (TTB), Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority (NCAA), Tanzania National Parks (TANAPA) and four tour companies.
NCAA Deputy Conservator Nicholaus Bangu, who is leading the Tanzanian delegation, said the government has devised various strategies to attract more tourists from the Asian country whose population has hit over a billion.
He noted with concern that available records show that last year alone over six million Chinese tourists travelled to various destinations in the world, with only 20,000 making it to Tanzania for tourism purposes.
He said the figure is unfairly small, given Tanzania’s endowment in tourists’ attractions. Mr Bangu said that Tanzania’s Ambassador to China Mbelwa Kairuki has helped to strategise towards attracting more tourists from China by communicating with different tourism agencies.
He said the Pavilion Theatre in Tanzania has been visited by many Chinese, curious to know about Tanzania’s tourism industry and are mostly asking if sightseeing is a year-round event, for Kenyans have marketed their tourism based on the ‘period of migration of animals’ only.
“There are Chinese who believe that if you want to see animals, there is a specified time to visit but we are telling them that in Tanzania, sightseeing is all weather phenomenon,” he said.
TTB Tourism Officer Irene Mville said the leading markets from where Tanzania sources tourists are America, Britain and Germany but China is the newly emerging market, with potentials for fast growth.
She said five years ago, Tanzania was receiving few tourists from China but in just two years, the number has soared to 20,000. “China is gradually proving to be a good source of tourists for Tanzania, she added”.
Ms Mville said most Chinese tourists are people from high and middle incomes, citing transport challenges especially the absence of direct flights from China to Tanzania as serious impediment to Tanzania’s marketing efforts in China.
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