The year 2009 is ushering in brisk business for tour operators booking safaris to Tanzania, stakeholders in the US have said in recent reports.
Their optimism contradicts local players in the sector who have in recent months been reporting a slump in business.
They are also predicting a drop in tourism receipts in the wake of the economic recession in major source markets of tourists to the country.
The Tanzania Tourist Board (TTB) is, however, optimistic that Tanzania will weather the financial crisis storm in the travel industry.
“In a year when people are conscious about cost/value, Tanzania offers an excellent travel experience where the dollar buys much more than is available in other countries.
America is Tanzania’s number one source of tourism. We are encouraged by the positive feedback we have received that this growth will continue even during a challenging economic climate,” Tanzania Tourist Board said recently.
US Tour Operators have seen no evidence of a travel slowdown when it comes to Tanzania.
“While the media was filled with doom and gloom for the past few months about the US economy in general,” she says, “right after the elections and the holidays we resumed normal -if not higher- quote requests on bookings to Tanzania.
“People see that the sky isn’t falling; they know that Tanzania is a beautiful and peaceful country (we have never had a problem in any part of Tanzania), and they’re ready again for a good travel experience.”
An recent article in USA Today (December 2008) stated Tanzania as “One of the Top Two Safari Destinations in the world”.�
Voice of America told listeners (January 2009) that “the price structure in Tanzania now, combined with its beauty, make it the must-go-to destination this year. Take advantage of its good deals while you can!”
US operators note that their sales of safari packages to Tanzania are also brisk.
“Few people are cancelling or postponing for economic reasons. We are more than pleased. People aren’t putting their lives on hold.”
“Many Americans are fulfilling a dream in keeping and creating travel plans to Tanzania”.
TTB confirms that they expect to hold or increase the market share in 2009 as a result of “the increase in hi-end accommodations to meet the demand of the luxury travel segment and improved air access combined with ongoing advertising on CNN and other US media.”
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