Natural Resources and Tourism minister Ezekile Maige has tasked the new Tanzania Tourist Board to assist in setting up regional boards to help promote attractions in their respective regions.
Speaking at the launch of the new TTB of directors in Dar es Salaam on Thursday the minister said it would be advisable to have liaison officers in the regions.
The move would help to respond to the public claims that TTB does not promote tourist attractions in the areas where they are found, he said.
The minister said that currently TTB has only 38 employees while the demand for promoting the tourist attractions is very high.
“Through the regional tourism boards and liaison officers it would be easier for them to identify tourist attractions, build infrastructure and accommodation facilities and work out transport logistics,” he said.
The minister said that the regional boards would be funded by the respective regions.
TTB will work to see that the regional boards are established, attractions are marketed and help carry out research on required infrastructures and accommodation.
The minister advised that the new board should develop a new comprehensive tourism marketing strategy and complete the implementation of the five year Tourism plan including the e-marketing.
Maige said the aim of the strategy is to reach 1 million tourists by the end of 2013 and ensure that the travel industry continues to grow between 8 and 10 percent annually.
“Although TTB has good tourism marketing strategies we need to review them because the number of tourists coming to the country is small,” he said.
According to research findings, 76 percent of tourists coming to the country get information through newspapers or are told about Tanzania by other people. The remaining 24 percent come to the country after getting information from Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority (NCAA) through international tourism fairs.
According to Maige, Ambassador Charles Sanga was recently appointed by President Kikwete as new chairman of TTB, while Dr Aloyce Nzuki, the board’s Managing Director was chosen its secretary.
The minister called upon TTB staff and board members to work more closely with the private sector to facilitate its development saying efforts by both the private and public sectors are needed to attain the goal.
Maige assured TTB staff and new chairman that he fully supports the efforts to achieve the planned activities.
To date tourism is one of Tanzania’s fastest growing sectors, he said noting that the government is determined to develop it so that it can contribute more to the national economy.
Commended TTB for the great achievements made by the sector since inception in 1962, Maige said tourism revenue has increased from USD146.84m in 1993 to USD1.3bn in 2010 with positive indications for more travellers to visit Tanzania.
The number of tourist arrivals has increased from 230,166 in 1993 to 867,994 in 2011, he said, due to good efforts made by TTB in collaboration with other stakeholders.
The government will continue to provide a first priority in this sector in terms of building good infrastructure, set-aside enough budget for promotion campaigns, put conducive environment for investors and improve tourism services in terms of accommodations, food and transport.
For his part, TTB new board Chairman Ambassador Charles Sanga expressed thanks to President Kikwete for nominating him to the position.
“I will make sure that TTB has a comprehensive tourism marketing strategy to increase tourist’s arrivals and meet their planned activities,” he said.