TATO engages US firm to promote destination Tanzania

05Mar 2021
By Guardian Reporter
Arusha
The Guardian
TATO engages US firm to promote destination Tanzania

THE Tanzania Association of Tour Operators (TATO) is in talks with a marketing agency in North America in its latest initiative to promote the country as a safe destination amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

UNDP Resident Representative Christine Musisi recently tests an ambulance to serve tourists in Arusha.

TATO under the support of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is currently implementing the –‘Tourism Recovery Strategy’-- in an effort to revive the tourism industry in order to spur other businesses, recover thousands of lost jobs and generate revenue for the economy.

TATO, a 38-year-old advocacy agency for a multi-billion dollar industry, with 300-plus members across the natural resources-rich East African country is currently engaging CornerSun Destination Marketing to undertake the marketing and promotion of Tanzania in the North American market.

CornerSun Destination Marketing is a New York-based consultancy focused on promoting national tourist boards to the North American market with a specialty in working with African destinations.

The firm provides full-service marketing, communications, and strategic consulting services including planning, training, and long-term economic development. They have previously worked with Kenya, Uganda, Malawi, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Sierra Leone and Ethiopia in a similar capacity.

“Our talks are at an advanced stage and hopefully, we are going to ink the deal very soon to allow CornerSun Destination Marketing to hit the ground running in terms of a marketing blitz in North America” said TATO CEO, Sirili Akko.

Ideally, the company would, among other things, amplify the visibility of Tanzania’s tourism destinations in the North American market in order to attract tourists from their end.

The marketing firm will also create awareness of Tanzanian tourism products amongst North American tour operators and travel agents in an initiative to include the country into their itineraries.

“Basically, we intend to spur tourism business to individual TATO members by generating awareness and publicity of Tanzania as a destination in North America,” Akko told a press conference.

“As private sector drivers have decided to develop tourism recovery measures, we are restoring traveler confidence by deploying a state-of-the-art fleet of ambulances and rethinking the marketing strategies in the height of COVID-19 crisis and for the future,” he said.

Quoting the UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, the UNDP Resident Representative, Christine Musisi said: “It is imperative that we rebuild the tourism industry, because it is one of the world’s most important economic sub-sector. To aid recovery UNDP in collaboration with the Government and other partners have adopted an integrated approach to build-back the tourism in the new a post- COVID-19 economic era with the concept of leaving no one behind.”

Musisi said that this approach includes, improving the environment for private investment and recovery of tourism value chain, strengthening institutional capacities in delivery of tourism sector services, facilitating access of affordable financial services and products for recovery and investment of SMEs in the tourism value chain.

For his part, the Permanent Secretary, Natural Resources and Tourism Ministry, Dr Aloyce Nzuki commended the move, saying TATO has been a close partner of the MNRT for nearly four decades now.

“The organization and individual operators have spent enormous amounts of money in not only promoting their companies, but also the Destination Tanzania, thereby complementing the Government promotional undertakings, coordinated by the Tanzania Tourist Board” Dr. Nzuki explained.

He added: “The move to promote Destination Tanzania in North America is very much welcomed and commendable”. The PS further said that he believes that the campaign will go a long way into tapping into the countries, especially the United States of America, being one of the most significant tourist source markets for Tanzania.

TATO, a member-driven trade association that promotes better tourism, is also playing the role of connecting businesses and individuals within the trade to facilitate knowledge sharing, best practice, trading, and networking across the entire tourism value chain.

A fortnight ago TATO, in partnership with the Tanzania government, rolled out the Coronavirus specimen collection center at Serengeti National Park in an effort to make COVID-19 testing easy and convenient for tourists.

Foreign exchange earnings from tourism in Tanzania have dropped to a 10-year low during the year ending October 2020, due to travel restrictions imposed by countries across the world in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Bank of Tanzania (BoT) figures show that Tanzania earnings from tourism for the period under review plunged by over 50 percent to $1.2 billion compared to $2.5 billion earned in a similar period in 2019.

The amount was last recorded in October 2010 when the country earned $1.23 billion from the tourism industry.

Wildlife tourism in Tanzania continues to grow, with nearly 1.5 million tourists visit the country annually, earning the country $2.5 billion, equivalent to nearly 17.6 percent of GDP, cementing its position as the country’s leading foreign currency earner.

Additionally, tourism provides 600,000 direct jobs to Tanzanians and over one million others earn an income from the industry.

As countries begin to recover and tourism restarts in a growing number of destinations, Tanzanian authorities have reopened its skies for international passenger flights from June 1, 2020, becoming the first country in the East African region to welcome tourists to visit and enjoy its endowed attractions