Welcoming an increasing number of tourists

While Onsea House in Arusha, as a boutique hotel & restaurant, welcomes an increasing number of happy clients including many honeymooners, small families and individual travelers, the same trend can be noticed on a Tanzanian level.

Reuters Africa reports that Tanzania expects to earn $1.35 billion from tourism in 2009, up from a projected $1.2 billion in 2008, helped by increased marketing in North America and Europe, the Tanzania Tourist Board said on Tuesday.

Tanzania is renowned for its national parks and reserves such as the Serengeti in the north, the Selous in the southeast and for its beaches along its eastern coastline and on the semi-autonomous archipelago of Zanzibar.

“For 2009, we should try every effort to reach 950,000 visitors. For revenue it will be in the range of $1.35 billion,” Peter Mwenguo, managing director of Tanzania Tourist Board, told Reuters in an interview.

“(This year) our target is to receive 750,000 tourists, but it might go up to 800,000. In terms of revenue, we are projecting about $1.1 billion to $1.2 billion.”

Last year Tanzania received 719,030 tourists, fetching just over $1 billion, making the sector the leading foreign exchange earner.

Known for its relative stability in the region, the east African nation of about 40 million people aims to attract 1 million tourists annually by 2010, and earning it $1.5 billion.

Mwenguo said that post-election violence in neighbouring Kenya at the start of the year had briefly slowed down the sector, as many tourists fly to Tanzania through Nairobi’s Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, but it had now recovered.

“There were a few cancellations, because some of our tourists come to Tanzania via Nairobi, so some people were scared to come to Tanzania,” he said.

Tanzania’s main markets are the United States (59,000), Britain (55,000), Germany, Italy, France, Spain, and the Scandinavian countries. Tanzania also receives a sizeable number of tourists from South Africa and Kenya.

Tourism employs around 200,000 Tanzanians directly and accounts for around a quarter of Tanzania’s total foreign exchange inflows.

Mwenguo said that to address a shortage of accommodation around the parks, a new lodge with 100 rooms was about to be completed in the Serengeti National Park, and the Tanzania National Parks Authority had earmarked 10 sites in the north and south of the country for more hotels and lodges.

Among other attractions, visitors come to Tanzania to climb Africa’s highest mountain, Mount Kilimanjaro, watch animal migrations to and from Kenya or go diving in Zanzibar. (For full Reuters Africa coverage on this visit: http://africa.reuters.com/)

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