Stakeholders in the tourism industry have formulated a new International Tourism Marketing Strategy that seeks to give Tanzania a competitive edge globally.
Crafted by the Tanzania Tourist Board (TTB), representing the public sector, and the Tourism Confederation of Tanzania (TCT), representing the private sector, the strategy is set to guide tourism marketing and promotional activities in the coming five years.
This strategy, a product of more than one-and-a-half years of public and private partnership, involved joint discussions and consultations between both sectors focusing on international tourism, according TTB Managing Director Dr Aloyce Nzuki and TCT chairman Gaudence Temu.
“It is indeed a milestone in the history of the tourism promotion partnership in Tanzania since the establishment of the TTB in 1993 and TCT in 2000,” says Dr Nzuki.
“This Strategy will, among other things, develop a distinctive and competitive positioning of Tanzania and will make use of more focused and cutting edge techniques and approaches to international tourism marketing,” adds Temu.
“The ultimate goal is to enable the tourism sector in Tanzania to contribute effectively towards the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals, specifically poverty eradication. As we roll out this strategy, we invite all the stakeholders to take ownership and support its implementation,“ the two executives explain in their introductory remarks to the strategy.
The 12 main strategic goals for the coming five years are to increase the country’s score for the 5th pillar in the World Economic Forum Competitiveness Study 2011 (overall position 110 out of 139 countries), namely the aspect ‘prioritization of travel and tourism’ should shift from the 90th position to at least the 75th position and increase Tanzania’s market share in the next five years from the current 11 percent to at least 14 percent of the total number of tourist arrivals in Tanzania, South Africa, Kenya and Botswana (key competitors), from the four primary source markets, namely United Kingdom, USA, Germany and Italy.
Other goals are to increase Zanzibar’s market share in the next five years from the current 26 percent to at least 30 percent of the total number of tourist arrivals in Zanzibar, The Seychelles and Mauritius (key competitors) from the four primary markets, namely United Kingdom, Italy, Germany and USA, increase the awareness of Tanzania as one country with two complimentary destinations in the primary and secondary source markets and develop a distinctive and competitive positioning for the country as a tourist destination>
In the past Tanzania had spread, its limited international tourism marketing budget over 25 to 30 source countries. Tourism experts argue that spreading this relatively small budget over many markets will not result in sufficient awareness, interest and desire for Tanzania as a tourist destination.
The strategy, therefore, intends to focus the marketing by concentrating the financial expenditure and the marketing activities on four primary (United Kingdom, USA, Germany and Italy) and five secondary existing mature source markets (France, Netherlands, Canada, Australia and Spain) and two new growth source markets (South Africa and India).
In addition, the potential of five new growth source markets (China, Russia, Turkey, Brazil and the Gulf countries) should be monitored and researched.
“Only by focusing can we successfully influence potential travellers from these markets. The intention is to utilise 90 percent of the marketing budget for marketing Tanzania in the four primary, five secondary and two tertiary markets (total 11),” says Dr Nzuki.
A study of competitive destinations, such as Kenya and South Africa, shows that Tanzania has considerable room for growth by focusing on a market penetration strategy, namely marketing to existing markets with existing products.
There is, however, also room for limited investment in a product development strategy, providing new products into existing markets, and in a market development strategy, providing existing products into new emerging markets.
The strategy will focus for Tanzania mainland on the experienced individual travellers with a relatively high education and a high disposable income. For Zanzibar, on the other hand, the strategy will focus on individual travelers with middle to higher education.
In order to realise the goals, Dr Nzuki and Temu say the tourism product needs to be expanded and improved. The product development proposals include developing wildlife and nature safaris in the Southern Circuit as a standalone product or in combination with sun, sea and sand on Zanzibar, Mafia or along the mainland coast, focusing on accessibility, accommodation and new game viewing products
Others are development of wildlife safaris in the Western area and fresh water tourism on Lake Tanganyika, specifically focusing on accessibility, accommodation and water activities, developing incentive travel for relatively small groups to Zanzibar, improving tourism infrastructure to increase the number of international airline connections and improving international airport facilities and airstrips.
Also a key agenda to attracting visitors to Tanzania is the improvement of quality and level of service in the country and identifying causes of main causes for negative environmental effects on Mount Kilimanjaro, Ngorongoro Crater and the Serengeti.
In addition, there will be measures to increase more tourism traffic to the Southern Circuit by further strengthening these tourism products together with the tourism industry, while focusing on a limited number of source countries and target groups.
“Tanzania can, in the future, once the current product has been developed to the desired level, invest in additional product development, such as cultural heritage, convention tourism, sport tourism and cruise tourism,” Temu says.
“Joint efforts by both the Private and Public Tourism Sector are needed to develop and implement the new International Marketing Strategy. Key stakeholders in the public and private tourism sector must own and honour the strategic choices made in this Strategy. We have to look at our own organisational structure and to the partnerships in order to see how it can and should be further improved, in order to best effectuate the new International Marketing Strategy,” adds Dr Nzuki.
“We must work together to increase the marketing budget substantially in line with the economic importance of international tourism and in line with our main competitors. Only then we can improve our competitive position and increase international tourism to Tanzania,” he concludes.