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Tanzania targets Chinese tourism market to boost visitor numbers

Tanzania's Zanzibar has become a magnet for tourists in the past decade
  • Tanzania aims to tap into China's outbound travel sector and increase the number of Chinese tourists visiting the country. 
  • The government is implementing strategies such as direct flights to China, strong marketing operations, and discounted airfare to attract Chinese visitors. 
  • Hosting familiarization tours for Chinese travel agents and journalists will expose them to Tanzania's cultural heritage, beach tourism, and other attractions to promote the country in the Chinese market.

Tanzania aims to increase tourism from China's outbound travel sector by utilizing its long-standing established links with that East Asian nation.

About 150 million Chinese people go abroad each year, making China the country with the most visitors in the world. Only a small percentage of Chinese visitors come to Tanzania; by the end of this year, the Tanzania Tourist Board (TTB) anticipates that 45,000 Chinese tourists will have travelled there.

However, according to Minister of Natural Resources and Tourism Mohamed Mchengerwa, that has to change. He wants more work to be done to get more and more Chinese visitors to Tanzania so they may experience the country's many tourist attractions, from wildlife safaris to beautiful beaches.

According to Mchengerwa, the top companies in the Asian economic powerhouse, which yearly handle around 40 million outbound travellers, are where the travel agents of travel agencies now operating in the nation are based.

“Efforts must be made to tap into this huge market. We need visitors from China to boost our tourism sector,” he said after the agents landed in Arusha.

The government has developed a plan to promote its tourist attractions in China and other growing countries in Asia in recent years. Direct flights to China have been launched, and strong marketing operations have also been organized by the Tanzanian embassy in Beijing and other parties.

Salim Salim, manager of Air Tanzania Company Limited (ATCL) for Arusha and Moshi, said that the national airline has implemented a 50% discount for flights to China.

Currently, ATCL offers three nonstop flights each week between Dar es Salaam and Guangzhou, a major commercial hub in southern China. At the height of the epidemic, the flights were halted. On May 11, 2023, they were supposed to start up again.

On Friday of last week, a group of Chinese travel agents and many journalists began their familiarization tour to Zanzibar. The organization that hosted them, the Zanzibar Commission for Tourism (ZCT), applauded the effort and said it would introduce Tanzania to the Chinese market.

Since the Covid-19 outbreak in December 2019, this was the first group of Chinese travel brokers, according to Ms. Hafsa Mbamba, executive director of ZCT.

During their stay in the country, they will be exposed “to our culture, heritage, beach tourism, and other various attractions that will enable them to promote them when they go back to China,” she said.

According to the Natural Resources and Tourism Ministry, inbound travellers from China alone would help the nation reach its goal of five million tourists by 2025. Based on its Third National Five-Year Development Plan (FYDP III), which covers the years 2021 to 2026, the objective of five million tourists per year would produce $6 billion.

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