Swahili International Tourism Expo: Investors perspective

Swahili International Tourism Expo (S!TE)  is held annually in Tanzania and this year it was held in the commercial port city of Dar es Salaam along with a unique investment forum led by the private sector.

Themed, “Sustainable Investment for Inclusive Socio-Economic Development” this was the 6th edition of the expo and was the very first investment forum held with specific focus on opportunities in the tourism sector.

Notably, the forum was jointly organized by key sector stakeholders including the Tanzania Investment Centre (TIC), Zanzibar Investment Promotion Authority (ZIPA), Tanzania Tourist Board (TTB), and Tanzania Private Sector Foundation (TPSF).

  • Tanzania’s Vice-President Philip Mpango opens 6th Swahili International Tourism Expo (S!TE) 
  • The government has pledged support to private sector investment in tourism sector
  • The private sector is urged to develop innovative tourism marketing and promotion approaches

Several presentations were delivered by a score of government agencies from the relevant ministry and the representative agencies. Each of the presenters highlighted the untapped potential of the tourism sector in Tanzania with a focus on the investment opportunities that are available.

The guest of honour at the event was Tanzania’s Vice-President Philip Mpango who in his opening remarks pointed out the need for such discussions to be held more regularly to bring together key stakeholders in the country’s tourism and hospitality industries.

The Vice President Mpango went on to emphasize how the sixth administration under President Samia Suluhu Hassan has prioritized tourism as a pivotal sector to increasing foreign direct investment, gaining foreign exchange and the means to sustainable national development.

“The President has been championing the revamping of the tourism sector post-COVID-19 and through the innovative marketing documentary known as the Royal Tour, she has succeeded in revitalizing the sector and we have started to witness positive results in terms of increased tourist arrivals as well as revenues,” Vice-President Mpango said.

According to the 2022 National Tourism Survey, tourism earnings in Tanzania have shown positive comeback post Covid-19.

The figures indicate a good recovery trajectory with data showing that the sector is up 83% having earned an impressive 1.4 billion USD and tourist receipts of 922,692 which represents an increase of about 48.6% compared to the 2020 performance.

According to the Tanzania National Five Year Development Plan 2021/2022-2025/2026, the country targets to attract 5 million tourists and garner revenues of US$ 6 billion.

The tourism sector contributes to the country’s GDP by an impressive 17%, and its contribution to foreign exchange earnings is more than a quarter (25 percent) of the country’s total foreign exchange earnings.

In its efforts to support the sector’s recovery, the government of Tanzania has invested a great deal in improving tourism infrastructure.

In this regard, the government has funded several construction projects including construction of the standard gauge railway, repair and upgrade of roads, construction and expansion of airports among other infrastructure works.

The government, through its respective ministries and agencies ahs also facilitated set up of new tourist camps, cutting of new hiking trails as well as emphasized the promotion of cultural tourism.

The government has also scaled up the national carrier Air Tanzania to support travel within Tanzania and foster domestic tourism.

Notably, the government has also placed emphasis on marketing and advertisement of key tourist attractions and continues to emphasize private sector participation in marketing Tanzania’s tourism sector.

Also Read: Tourism in East Africa: Unpicked ripe fruit  

Tanzania urges private sector support to develop tourism

With the Tanzania private sector umbrella body present, Vice-President Mpango was keen to emphasize that the government recognizes the value and intricate responsibility that the private sector has in promoting the development of tourism in Tanzania.

“The private sector is both the driver and engine of the tourism sector…we as the government recognize the importance of the private sector in promoting tourism,” the Vice President said.

He went on to point out that the government welcomes an inclusive approach and has already passed accommodating policies and legal as well as fiscal reforms to support private sector participation.

“In addition, we are vigorously promoting other tourist attractions, especially in the southern corridor of our country, in Makueni, which we believe has a great potential to boost this sector and take it to even greater heights,” he said urged increased creativity in promoting the country’s less popular tourist attractions.

The Minister in charge of the sector, Hon. Pindi Chana, Minister of Natural Resources and Tourism of Tanzania, supported the Vice-President’s views and urged private sector participation.

She said her ministry is willing and ready to work with the private sector in innovative ways to promote tourism and support recovery of the sector post Covid-19.

Also Read: Tourist arrivals to hit 1.6 million as Kenya’s tourism sector bounces back

Tourism investment opportunities in Tanzania

Popularly known as S!TE, the Swahili International Tourism Expo is one of a kind created to specifically promote investment opportunities in the country’s tourism sector. On the other hand, S!TE is also designed to bring together investors and key stakeholders to understand barriers to investment in the sector.

According to the organizers, ‘the event aims to promote Tanzania’s tourism in international markets and facilitate the linking of companies based in Tanzania, Eastern, and Central Africa with tourism companies from other parts of the world.’

The forum serves to provide a conducive environment to hold discussion and create a networking platform for investment stakeholders from across all sectors both national and international.

It provides room to engage and promote investment opportunities in the tourism and hospitality industries.

According to the Tanzania tourism Board, Tanzania offers a wide range of investment opportunities in natural and cultural tourist attractions.

There is huge return potential for investors since the country is internationally renowned for its abundance of wildlife resources, cultural heritage resources, forest resources, unexploited beaches and marine resources.

Tanzania already has 16 National Parks, 31 Game Reserves, 44 Game Controlled Areas, 4 Ramsar Sites, 33 Wildlife Management Areas, 6 nature reserves 2 marine parks and 16 famous historical and cultural sites.

All of these offer opportunity to set up hotels, camp sites, open tour and travel companies etc

The government has also related a very business friendly environment and welcomes foreign investors to operate in the country. The investment climate in Tanzania is pro-business and has an easy to navigate system that allows for quick set up of businesses with minimal bureaucracy.

Giza Mdoe

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