Tanzania tour operators roll out the crimson carpet for worldwide journey brokers
- Braced by a brutal coronavirus wave, tourism in Tanzania is a money-throwing industry.
- It creates 1.3 million decent jobs and generates 2.6 billion US dollars annually, which corresponds to 18 and 30 percent of the country’s GDP and export revenue, respectively.
- The Tanzania Association of Tour Operators (TATO) is currently working around the clock on behalf of its more than 300 members to win dozens of travel agencies by the end of September 2021.
“We’re rolling out a welcome mat for dozens of travel agents around the world as part of a new strategy to promote our travel destination after [the] COVID-19 pandemic, “said the organization’s CEO, Mr. Sirili Akko.
Agents, or as more and more preferred today – travel consultants or designers – usually sell the tourist destinations and simplify the travel planning process for tourists, but also offer consulting services and entire travel packages.
“Our plan [is] to get a total of 300 international travel agencies for the next 12 months[s]which is the equivalent of 25 agents per month to explore and experience how Tanzania is endowed with unparalleled natural beauty, ”Akko said.
As part of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), TATO has invested significant time, skills and resources in positioning Tanzania as a safe and luxurious travel destination in its spirited plan to attract high-end travelers to the country through targeted marketing strategies in several key markets.
Allied Market Research’s results show that the global luxury tourism market will hit $ 1.2 trillion in 2021-2027, with an average annual growth rate of 11.1 percent.
The whole idea is to keep the ailing tourism industry going to spur other companies to reclaim thousands of lost jobs and generate revenue for the economy.
The plan to bring the global travel agencies into the country comes as a surprise as the tour operators try to diversify their marketing strategy to attract more visitors and increase tourism numbers in order to counter the onslaught of displacement competition from other travel destinations in the post-Covid19 pandemic.
Tourism industry analysts say the venture does indeed point to a historic shift in marketing strategy, as tour operators’ approach has traditionally been to travel overseas to promote the country’s tourist attractions to a greater extent.
TATO chairman Mr Wilbard Chambulo said his organization was working on a number of initiatives to revitalize the bedridden tourism industry.
“We have the idea of changing the strategy because it makes more marketing and economic sense to get travel agencies to take a look at the country’s free natural attractions than our members to follow them overseas with stills and moving images , particularly in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, ”noted Mr Chambulo.
TATO, together with the Ministry of Health, recently carried out the largest free mass vaccination against COVID-19, in which thousands of frontline workers in the tourism industry were vaccinated before the main tourist season.
The association also developed basic health infrastructure support in key tourism circles, including the provision of on-site ambulances, agreements with some hospitals to use them for tourist services in an emergency and linking the project with the services of flying doctors – all to revitalize the tourism industry .
More recently, TATO has worked with the government to set up COVID-19 sample collection centers in Kogatende and Seronera in the central and northern Serengeti, respectively.
Fortunately, these basic efforts have somehow paid off in commanding some traffic and encouraging new bookings for TATO members.
The leading Swiss holiday airline Edelweiss has announced that it will include Kilimanjaro, Zanzibar and Dar es Salaam as its 3 new destinations in Tanzania from October and thus offer a glimmer of hope for the tourism industry.
Edelweiss, a sister company of Swiss International Air Lines and a member of the Lufthansa Group, has a customer base of almost 20 million worldwide.
From October 8, 2021, Edelweiss will be flying twice a week directly from Zurich to Kilimanjaro International Airport (KIA), an important gateway to the northern tourist area of Tanzania, with high-end tourists from Europe to decorate the high tourist season.