Through the Tanzania Tourist Board (TTB), the country is in the process of diversifying its tourism potential, targeting to bank heavily in business travels, conferences and exhibitions, in effort to reach its 2020 target of attracting 2 million visitors in a year.
In line with that, the Tanzania Tourist Board (TTB), has organized what is known as 'Mice,' or essentially the Tanzania Business and Meetings Incentives, Conferences and Exhibition (MICE) Tourism Masterclass Training sessions, with the first event taking place in Arusha for two days, before shifting base to Dar-es-salaam later on.
“Arusha is so far the headquarter of tourism industry in Tanzania, while Dar-es-salaam plays the role of commercial capital in the country, that is why we are targeting participants from these precincts,” said Dorothea Massawe, the Coordinator of the training from TTB.
“We are involving the private sector, especially tour operators, hotel owners and other business sects to ensure that, we work as one towards attaining this goal of assimilating, business, conferences and exhibitions with tourism in order to ensure that, overseas visitors do not simply rely on wildlife-based, tourism seasons to come to Tanzania,” said Ms Massawe.
She said, the Arusha International Conference Center, thought its AICC complex as well as the Julius Nyerere Convention Center in Dar-es-salaam will assist in initial stage of marketing the country as conference destination for East Africa.
Anthony Chamanga from the Tanzania Private Sector Foundation (TPSF), said the country currently needs a larger conference and exhibition center which can at least take 5000 people at one sitting in order to attract bigger international events.
On her part, the Sales and Marketing Officer at the ‘Four Points – Sheraton,’ hotel, Farida Khatib said if marketed well, conference tourism will guarantee all-around visitors, because meetings and exhibition can happen any time of the year.
“With game viewing, it all depends with season and can take rainy days hiatus, but when it comes to conferences, the events can take place anytime, plus when the delegates complete their indoor sessions, they can always take excursions to National Parks and other attractions,” said Khatib.
Tanzania receives, an average of 1.3 million tourists per year, this was described to be a measly figure compared to global tourists’ traffic, despite the country’s potential.
Statistics from the conference, indicate that the United States (US) lead in the number of visitors attending conferences, followed by Germany. South Africa tops the log on the African Continent.