The battle is on for the scramble of the tourism market in East Asia, majorly, Japan and China.
Both Uganda and Tanzania are looking to lure the Chinese and Japanese investors to their tourism sector as the industry continues to get more competitive. The two countries have recorded significant tourism revenues and now bet on the industry to economically improve the state of their tourism earnings.
The government of Uganda has planned to increase the number of its public relations firms to market its industry in Japan and China as well as the Gulf States that include Dubai and Abu Dhabi. The Parliament has invested over $1.5 million in tourism marketing, and there are good returns already.
The emerging tourism market in China has caught the attention of these two parties looking to have a significant share of the market. Prof Ephraim Kamuntu of Uganda said, “With the Americas, the increase in tourist arrivals is 17 per cent. That is why we are increasing the number from three to six public relations firms. About 130 million Chinese travel as tourists so what if we got 1 per cent coming here? Japan too and the Gulf States such as Dubai and Abu Dhabi have people who have money to spend.”
For the past three years, tourism emerged to be the country’s highest foreign exchange earner overtaking foreign remittances. According to trading economics, the stats record that tourist arrivals in Uganda increased from 1,323,000 in 2016 to record an all-time high of 1,449,000 in 2017. In 2016, the sector contributed $1.35 billion into Uganda’s export basket.
In 2016, Kenya raked in $989 million with the following year (2017) recording a 20.3 per cent growth to $1.2 million in tourism revenue. The international arrivals went up by 9.8 per cent to 1.4 million in 2017 from the previous year’s 1.3 million. The inauguration of Nairobi – New York direct flights should boost the tourism sector, especially from the U.S.
On the other hand, Tanzania has involved itself in exhibitions to market its tourism sector. The Tanzania Tourism Board (TTB) took part in both China and the United Kingdom exhibitions recently as part of its marketing strategy. Tanzania is most competitive in the tourism sector from among the countries of the East African region. Its dominance is as a result of the efforts of the government and its wealth of tourist attraction sites.
TTB arranged a tour during its participation in the Chinese exhibition to Shanghai and Beijing as part of its marketing campaign. According to the United Nations, World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) the combined Chinese tourists’ expenditure exceeded $261 billion in 2016.