In what was a glamorous event complete with impressive water salute by the local fire service, dignitaries, a host of international media representatives and traditional dancers, the Qatar airlines, on a bright Wednesday morning in Arusha taxied a gleaming Flight QR546 at the Kilimanjaro International Airport.
“It comes at the right time when the number of tourists visiting Tanzania is significantly on the rise…” Tanzanian Tourism Minister Mr. Khamis Kagasheki observed noting that the coming of Qatar Airways to Kilimanjaro is a great milestone that has a positive impact on economic growth for both Tanzania and Qatar.
The minister associated tourism growth with improved travel saying and noted that Qatar airlines ahs been a leader in expanding the country’s aviation.
“The growth we have experienced over the years is largely because of the improved air connectivity, thanks to airlines like Qatar Airways, who relentlessly continue to support our tourism industry…”
He also detailed the growth in numbers observing that over the last ten years, Tanzania registered a growth of 65 percent of international tourist arrivals. In 2011, Tanzania received 867,994 tourists, out of which 54 percent arrived in the country by air.
Addressing guests at the airport ceremony, the proud Qatar Airways Chief Commercial Officer, Marwan Koleilat was appreciative and optimistic.
“I would like to thank the Tanzanian government and officials at Kilimanjaro International Airport for the warm welcome and supporting our newest route launch. The exposure of Kilimanjaro to the world through Qatar Airways’ global network will enable Tanzania to attract even more tourists and businesses alike.” He said.
Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer, Akbar Al Baker revealed that Africa has long been underserved with a lack of international air services.
“Kilimanjaro signifies the importance Qatar Airways places in looking at airports around the world where capacity is limited, yet passenger demand is strong…” he asserted the company’s vision.
The eventful and productive day was summed up at an elegant VIP dinner on the grounds of Mount Meru hotel. Internationally acclaimed singer and performer, Lady Jay Dee graced the event and performed for the special invite guests including government representatives and officials from the airline.
The Kilimanjaro route is considered by the Qatar management as one of the fastest -growing hubs in today's aviation industry. The new route will provide plenty of benefits for the Northern Tourism Circuit in Kilimanjaro, Tanga, Arusha, and Manyara regions which host some of the most unique and important tourist attractions in the country.
It is estimated that the number of tourist arrivals in Tanzania will hit one million by the end of 2013 and is expected to increase revenue from the current US$1.35 billion to US$1.5 billion.