A new report released rates Tanzania’s tourism industry as one of the fastest growing sectors in the east African country with figures showing a surge on tourist arrivals.
Alloyce Nzuki, the Deputy Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism, said the 2016 International Visitors’ Exit Survey Report indicated that the number of tourists who visited the country, east Africa’s second largest economy, continued to rise.
Nzuki said the report was jointly compiled by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism, the Bank of Tanzania (BOT), the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), the Immigration Department and the Zanzibar Commission for Tourism (ZCT).
He said the report showed that Tanzania hosted at least 1,284,279 tourists in 2016, compared to 1,137,156 in 2015, which was an increase of 12 percent.
“The report shows revenues from the tourism industry have been increasing year after year with 2.1 billion U.S. dollars in 2016 against 1.9 billion U.S. dollars in 2015,” Nziku told a news conference in the commercial capital Dar es Salaam at the launch of the report.
Nziku said in Zanzibar revenue from tourism increased by 30.4 percent to 3.8 billion U.S. dollars in 2016 from 2.9 billion U.S. dollars earned in 2015.
He named top five source of tourism markets as the United Kingdom, Kenya, the United States, Germany and Italy.
He said 75 percent of the tourists departed through airports and 25 percent through land border posts.
However, Nziku said about 41.2 percent of the tourists who visited the country expressed concerns over poor conditions of roads and airport facilities.
Nzuki said that the government was committed to developing and promoting sustainable growth on the travel and tourism sector in the country in order to preserve its natural and cultural resources.
He said the government now focused on heavy investments in marketing, hospitality and infrastructure to boost tourism in the country, especially the southern and western tourist circuits.
“The government will also put emphasis on investments in heritage sites to attract more tourists visiting historical areas,” said Nzuki.
Tourism is Tanzania’s largest foreign exchange earner since 2012, contributing an average of 2 billion U.S. dollars annually, which is equivalent to 25 percent of all exchange earnings, according to government data.
Tourism also contributes to more than 17 percent of the national gross domestic product (GPD), creating more than 1.5 million jobs.