• Zanzibar has entered into a deal with Belgium to attract more tourists to the East African coastal Island.
  • The number of tourist arrivals in Tanzania is projected to increase in 2023. The country saw 62.7 per cent jump in new arrivals between January and July last year.
  • Tanzania received a total of 100,600 tourists from USA in 2022 followed closely by France that was the source of 100,371 holidaymakers.

Zanzibar’s tourism development initiative under its Blue Economy agenda is starting to pay dividend with the isles setting its sights on attracting tourists from Belgium.

Isle’s President Hussein Mwinyi recently met with Belgium’s Ambassador to Tanzania Peter Huyghebaert, and  unveiled ongoing improvement of infrastructure in Zanzibar to improve tourists’ experience.

President Mwinyi cited infrastructure improvements such as airports and roads, access to power and water as well as the construction of new hotels by the private sector.

“We have been working harder to modernize our airports and other infrastructure at our tourists’ attraction sites along with providing better services so that our visitors can speak positively or become good ambassadors abroad,” local media quoted the president.

The president expressed confidence in the expected positive results following his talks with the Ambassador. He also pointed out Belgians represent a major portion of tourist receipts to the island and Tanzania in general.

The president also cited improving bilateral relations that are paving way for more tourists and investors from Europe to the archipelago.

Mr Mwinyi underscored the need to have direct flights from the European nation to Zanzibar noting that non-stop flights to the island would reduce flight time as well as flight costs which in turn would encourage more Europeans to visit the island.

“Having direct flights from Belgium to Zanzibar opens up opportunities for tourists to fly more frequently and in larger numbers, it is cost-effective,” Dr Mwinyi said.

He also urged increased cooperation in the areas of health and Information Communication Technology (ICT), which he described as crucial in achieving Zanziar development goals.

Read: Tanzania: President Visiting France, Belgium to rekindle relations

In turn, the Ambassador pledged to market Zanazibar tourism offering in Belgium and to ensure this coming season has more holidaymakers from his nation.

Ambassador Huyghebaert, acknowledged President Mwinyi’s efforts toward Zanzibar’s development including strengthening relations with various development partners such as the European Union.

“The existing good relations between Belgium and Tanzania will continue to bear good fruits for the benefit of both our citizens, I will continue to work towards building stronger relations in the areas of health and ICT as the President has asked,” the diplomat pledged.

The envoy went on to assure Dr Mwinyi that Tanzania is among Belgium’s top priority countries across Africa. He said Belgium recognizes Tanzania as a fast-growing economy with huge economic potential and will continue to support it through various development programs.

The ambassador said tourism and environmental conservation must go hand in hand for sustainable development. For that matter, he applauded Zanzibar’s Blue Economy initiative and sustainable tourist development.

Zanzibar tourist receipts up

Latest data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) shows that between January and July of 2022, tourist arrivals increased to 742,133 compared to 456,266 reported in 2021, which is an impressive growth of 62.7 percent.

Out of 742,133 tourist arrivals, 222,449 holidaymakers entered the country through Zanzibar, which is equivalent to 30 percent of total arrivals, reports the NBS of Tanzania.

This is an impressive raise in tourist receipts and a clear comeback of the sector in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic that gravely diminished tourist arrivals in Tanzania mainland as well as Zanzibar. The 2022 tourist receipts value was $1.5 billion, more than double compared to same the period in 2021.

This amount was accrued thanks to the arrival of some 1,454,920 tourists in 2022, compared to 922,692 in 2021, and 616,491 in 2020 for Tanzania as a whole. This is a considerable comeback given the fact that from a high of $2.6 billion in revenues and 1.5 million arrivals in 2019, in 2020, revenues went down to $1 billion owing to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The sector’s contribution to GDP fell from 10.6 percent in 2019 to 5.3 percent in 2020 and climbed to 5.7 percent in 2021 but the Tanzania National Business Council (TNBC) projects that ‘the share of tourism in the country’s GDP will reach 19.5 percent in 2025/26.

Tourist arrivals for the month of July 2022 increased to 166,736 tourists from 81,307 tourists who visited the country in July 2021, equivalent to an expansion of 105.1 percent. The number of tourist arrivals in July 2022 was more than double as compared to arrivals in the similar period in 2021.

Tourist arrivals in Tanzania

During the period of January to July 2022, United States of America accounted for the largest share of tourist arrivals from regions other than Africa with 51,301 visitors followed by France with 47,403 visitors. Other visitors were from Germany (30,817), Poland (29,004), and Britain (28,275).

Meanwhile, for the month of July 2022 visitors from the USA continued to account for the largest share of arrivals with 17,135 visitors, France (12,634), Britain (8,586), Germany (8,015), and Netherland (5,102).

Tourist arrivals from African countries for the period of January to July 2022, were from Kenya (86,220), Burundi (54,877), Malawi (27,079), Uganda (21,080), and South Africa (20,868). Moreover, for the month of July 2022, Kenya took lead with 16,654 tourists, Burundi (7,966), Malawi (5,113), South Africa (4,335) and Rwanda (4,035).

According to Tanzania Invest, Europe usually accounts for the largest share of tourist arrivals in Tanzania. The second runners up was Asia and then the Pacific, the Americas, followed by other African countries, and finally, the Middle East.

As of 2022, the United States of America had the highest number of tourist arrivals compared to the rest of the world. The USA brought to Tanzania an impressive 100,600 tourists in the twelve month period. The USA arrivals were followed by France which brought in some 100,371.

The third runners-up in tourist arrivals to Tanzania was Germany which recorded some 67,718 tourists as the United Kingdom which brought 60,116, ranked fourth. In total, Poland accounted for 46,431 tourists into Tanzania.

As for tourists from Africa, neighboring Kenya led with 166,324 visitors followed by Burundi at 100,851 and then Zambia whose 46,787 people visited Tanzania. Finally, you had tourist receipts from Malawi that clocked in at 44,438 and Rwanda is also on the list bringing to Tanzania another 44,288 tourists in 2022.

Country by country arrivals Source: NBS

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Giza Mdoe is an experienced journalist with 10 plus years. He's been a Creative Director on various brand awareness campaigns and a former Copy Editor for some of Tanzania's leading newspapers. He's a graduate with a BA in Journalism from the University of San Jose. Contact me at giza.m@mediapix.com

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