Tanzania’s tourism boom takes a knock

As tourism to Kenya suffers from international negative perception, Tanzania has benefited by receiving a major increase in tourism in the last few years. However, due to the Ebola outbreak, numbers seem to be dropping again.  

According to the East African Business Week between 2002 and 2013, Tanzania registered a growth of over 50% in international tourist arrivals. In 2013, Tanzania received 1 135 884 tourists, which earned the country US$1, 81 billion (R20,3 billion).

Dave Herbert, CEO of Great Safaris in the US, said: “Tanzania has been far more popular than other East African destinations for the past couple of years.” He said the growth had been driven by consumer demand and the fact that the destination seldom encountered bad publicity, except for the Serengeti road.

Herbert is of the opinion that the US market is a “victim of perceptions” and that due to negative media reports tourism in Kenya has suffered over the past three years as security is a major concern. 

According to Annie Porter from Karibu Africa Safaris, Tanzania has seen a definite increase in tourism interest. She said people aren’t going to Kenya as often as they used to because of the security incidents that have taken place and that Tanzania had benefited from this. 

Vanessa Dinkhoff, Marketing and Sales Manager  at Asilia Africa, said: "One of the things driving the growth is intensive marketing from inbound operators and DMC's from Tanzania, as well as property owners." She said marketing includes attending trade shows, being in the media as well as investing a lot, not just in promoting properties, but in the whole country.
However, the growth in tourism to Tanzania is likely to be harmed by fears of Ebola and the country is not completely protected from security concerns affecting its neighbour.

André Laget, MD at Akilanga and Latin American Director of Atta said although there was an increase in tourism to Tanzania last year, the threat of Ebola had led to the destination seeing more cancellations than bookings of late.  He said the French government had also identified Tanzania, as well as Kenya, as a risky country to travel to because of the security concerns and that this had caused a decrease in travel from the French market. 

Source: Tourism Update, Atta Media Partners