TANZANIA’S decision to reopen its skies is now paying dividends after the East African nation registered a record tourist’s arrival since June 1 this year.
According to Tanzania National Parks (TANAPA) Assistant Conservation Commissioner in charge of the business development portfolio Ms Beatrice Kessy, the country has received more than 30,000 visitors since July, this year.
She added that by Monday, last week, a total of over 8,000 tourists landed in the country, an indication that the 2bn US dollars sector was slowly but surely bouncing back in the wake of the Covid-19 Pandemic.
Ms Kessy further revealed that three national parks, namely the Serengeti, Manyara and Kilimanjaro had the most tourist distribution since the KLM Royal Dutch Airlines landed at the Kilimanjaro International Airport (KIA) earlier this month, with more than 177 tourists who are here to enjoy the country’s abundant tourist attractions.
Expounding on the distribution before members of the press on Tuesday, Ms Kessy said northern tourism circuit based parks attracted 7,811, 1,987 and 1,676 tourists, respectively.
Other parks including Ibanda and Mahale national parks drew only 7 and 6 visitors, respectively. Ms Kessy noted that the sector was badly hit the day the first Coronavirus case was reported in the country, mid-March.
“From 1,700 plus tourists we would thereafter receive a mere four tourists,” she explained.
It would even become worse as TANAPA would host only three visitors in all of its parks. She attributed such a decline to travel restrictions from major markets, including the United States of America.
According to Ms Kessy, the recovery plan initiated by the conservation agency through guidelines rolled out by the World Tourism Organisation of the United Nations (UNWTO) contributed to the sector’s impressive recovery.
“TANAPA was, from the guidelines, able to come up with its own recovery plan which included product diversification in a bid to attract new segments of tourists visiting Tanzania,” she said.
This also involved the review of tariffs especially on multiple entries as a way of luring in more tourists to the country.
Some of the new products identified by the conservation agency are fishing, game viewing, wildlife orphanages, zipline and virtual tourism which will be introduced in Serengeti National Park.
In the same vein, Assistant Conservation Commissioner in charge of the Business Development described the Pandemic as a ‘Blessing in disguise’ as some tour operators were now rolling out packages that promote domestic tourism to make up for the lost time and money.
“Some had in earnest started selling domestic tourism packages and it truly worked for them, they were served good lessons and started thinking outside the box,” she added.
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