EAC lures Indaba trade

International and regional tourism in the EAC is projected to raise from this year to boost the economies of Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya. 

This was revealed on the side-lines of the Indaba, Africa’s largest tourism trade show by the CEO’s of Tourism Board from Tanzania Ms. Devota Mdachi and Kenya’s Acting CEO, Ms. Jacinta Nzioka, and Uganda’s UTB Acting Marketing Manager, Ms. Sylvia Kalembe. 

 “While we expect a significant growth of International arrivals this year, regional markets remains a potential segment that we are happy with the response of the Indaba trade show”, said  Devota Mdachi, Tanzania Tourist Board’s Managing Director.

Tanzania was represented by nearly 40 exhibitors showcasing different tourism services and products from travel agents, tour operators and hospitality industry stakeholders.  Devota said the show exposed the growth of interest for Tanzania destination from different stakeholders including hosted buyers.

Intra-Africa tourism business, according to Devota, is rising with many visitors visiting Tanzania from the African continent, particularly from South Africa. Some of key investments in the lodges and hotels in Tanzania are run and managed by South African companies, one of the pull factors, according to her.

Zanzibar, the Serengeti national park Mount Kilimanjaro and Ngorongoro crater dominated most of the enquiries while some shown interest in the Ruaha and Katavi national parks in the Southern Tanzania. Of interest to some enquiries, Devota said was the Kigamboni new bridge which opens up tourism beaches in the administrative and commercial capital of Tanzania, Dar es Salaam.

The Tanzania stand was graced with visits by different media houses based in and out of Africa including Richard Quest, the CNN news anchor who showed interest to visit Zanzibar with his wife according to Devota. Other high-profile dignitaries who visited the Tanzania stand include Hon. Derek Hanekom, SA Tourism Minister and his deputy Tokozile Xasa.

Uganda’s Sylvia Kalembe hinted that their marketing drive is equally focused to the Africa continent in which the Indaba trade show is the perfect platform, she said. 

Their marketing drive, according to her, has been upped by the CNNs recognition of Kidepo national park, Kampala voted as the best entertainment city in East Africa and Bwindi Park voted as a birdlife destination in Africa.

Uganda was represented by 14 tourism stakeholders who included tour operators, hospitality operators who teamed up with the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) and UTB to sell their country as a destination of the Big 5 plus 2 (Gorillas and Chimpanzees). 

Jacinta Nzioka from the Kenya Tourism Board (KTB) said they have been stating their position of Kenya being a hub of business in the EAC region, including tourism, at the Indaba. 

Their stand branded locally as “Asambe Kenya” which means Tembea Kenya has a multitude of key tourism stakeholders drawn from across the country from the white beaches in Diani and Mombasa to the capital Nairobi.

Kenya’s international flight bookings to the country had increased by more than 20 per cent, she said, and the extra numbers are credited to the government’s reduction of park entry fees and the waiving of visa fees for children under 16.

The charter incentive scheme announced by the government last year, according to Nzioka, continues to attract airlines. Many of which are expected to resume flights in the tourist season.

Source: East African Business Week