- Tanzania’s tourism industry has rebounded from low receipts, surpassing $2 billion by July 2023.
- The US and European nations remain Tanzania’s leading tourist markets, accounting for thousands of visitors annually.
- Serengeti National Park and Ngorongoro Crater retain their places among the top tourist attractions in Africa.
When the first-ever, state-of-the-art tourism documentary featuring Tanzania’s President Samia Suluhu Hassan and narrated by Peter Greenberg, the world’s best travel journalist, and award-winning investigative reporter, “The Royal Tour,” premiered in the US, it was only a matter of time before tourist numbers soared in Tanzania.
Whether it is the most beautiful places to visit in Tanzania or exotic landscapes found nowhere else, Tanzania offers one of the most unique tourism experiences in Africa and the world.
Tanzania is among the most beautiful places to visit in Africa
Fortunately, Tanzania’s natural wonders market themselves through celebrity endorsements. Celebrities like actor Will Smith, German filmmaker Mr Bernd, and influencers such as Klara Matejkova, a resident of the Czech Republic, can’t seem to stop promoting Tanzania’s beautiful attractions.
“Everyone was so amazed when I visited the renowned Serengeti National Park. I plan to return next year and bring many people with me; it was an amazing experience,” Klara commented. Among other engaging destinations across the region, including Kenya, Rwanda, South Africa, and Egypt, Tanzania is strategically establishing its presence.
Tanzania recognises that the US remains the most significant source of tourists. Consequently, past promotional activities have been primarily focused on the US, especially with the Royal Tour documentary.
However, Tanzania is fully aware of the intense competition in the global market and is taking a global approach to promote its local attractions.
Tanzania tourism statistics
The latest data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) reveals that the number of tourist arrivals increased to 1,454,920 in 2022 from 922,692 prior, with the new figure falling short of the pre-pandemic level by only 55,231.
Regarding specifics, approximately 100,600 tourists arrived from the US, representing the highest number of arrivals from a country outside Africa.
Further afield, other Europe contributed significantly to Tanzania’s tourism, including France (100,371), Germany (67,718), the UK (60,116), and Poland (46,431).
Similarly, across the continent, Tanzania attracted a substantial number of visitors from Kenya (166,324), Burundi (100,851), Zambia (46,787), Malawi (44,438), and Rwanda (44,288).
However, travel receipts nearly doubled to $2.5 billion in 2022 from $1.31 billion in 2021. The sector’s contribution to the economy has experienced fluctuations over the past three years.
The sector’s contribution to GDP declined from 10.6 per cent in 2019 to 5.3 per cent in 2020. It rebounded to 5.7 per cent in 2021.
Despite the numbers falling short of expectations, the Tanzania National Business Council (TNBC) predicts that the share of tourism in the country’s GDP will reach 19.5 per cent by 2025/26.
Furthermore, Tanzania has an ambitious mission—to attract at least five million visitors by 2025. Achieving this goal will require substantial effort from Tanzania.
Strategies to keep Tanzania’s tourism industry numbers high
When President Samia assumed office, a new diplomatic tone, investment approach, and way of doing business were introduced. This new approach witnessed a significant increase in interested parties venturing into various investment sectors in Tanzania. Bilateral agreements followed suit.
One such agreement is the Bilateral Air Services Agreement between Tanzania and Russia. This represents a strategic move by Tanzania to enhance transport benefits between the two nations, particularly in tourism and trade.
According to Russia’s Ambassador to Tanzania, Andrey Avetisyan, the two nations are collaborating to establish direct flights from Moscow to Dar es Salaam. Direct flights will provide Tanzania with a competitive edge, allowing it to not only outperform other industries but also expand its reach.
“At the moment, Russian tourists who wish to come here have to pass through Ethiopia, the UAE, Turkey, or Oman. However, we are currently in discussions with the Tanzanian government and the Tanzania Civil Aviation Authority about the possibility of reinstating direct flights.”
According to Avetisyan, charter flights represent an initial step towards establishing regular commercial flights. “I believe we will commence with charter flights before implementing regular commercial flights. We are presently negotiating a new bilateral agreement with the Tanzania Civil Aviation Authority, which is nearly complete. I hope it will be signed soon,” Ambassador Avetisyan commented in May 2023.
Aviation to enhance Tanzania’s tourism industry
The Tanzanian Tourism Board (TTB) has several plans in its arsenal. Among the proposed measures to enhance facilities at major airports, notably Julius Nyerere International Airport (JNIA) in Dar es Salaam.TTB plans to expand the airport to ensure it can accommodate a significant number of aircraft.
TTB envisions a seamless aviation sector to enable the growth of the industry. More than half (58 per cent) of all international tourists travel by air. This implies that the aviation and tourism industries are interdependent for their expansion.
Furthermore, the board plans to participate in major international tourism fairs to promote itself as a preferred tourist destination and among the most beautiful places to visit in Africa.
In today’s competitive economy, emerging tourism markets like Tanzania must generate sales leads quickly, establish brand awareness, grow their businesses, and build a strong brand focus on
creating lasting memories across the sector.
Tanzania eagerly anticipates participating in events such as ITB Berlin, held in Berlin, Germany (which contributes a significant number of visitors to Tanzania) every March, and the World Tourism Market (WTbornheld in London every November.
Standing out of the crowd
Without a doubt, Tanzania is emerging as a prominent and exclusive tourist destination in Africa. In July, nature and outdoor enthusiasts, via Trip Advisor—the world’s largest travel site—voted Serengeti, Tanzania’s premier national park, as the third-best nature-based destination in the world for 2023. This ranking represents a significant step forward in Tanzania’s mission to restore its tourism industry to its former glory.
Trip Advisor, which caters to over 400 million tourists monthly, positioned Tanzania ahead of Mauritius and Kathmandu in Npal as the first and second winners, respectively.
“The Maasai refer to the plains of Serengeti National Park, where the land stretches endlessly. Here, you can witness the famous Serengeti annual migration, the largest and longest overland migration on earth,” from Trip Advisor.
US-based travel agencies, including Niarra Travels, Luxe Traveller Club, and Craft Travel, highlighted Tanzania’s wildlife splendour and breathtaking landscapes as power tourist attractions.
This recognition materialised as Tanzania competed with other active regional players, including Rwanda, Kenya, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, and South Africa.