Tour operators want correct figures of tourist arrivals

27Sep 2016
Edward Qorro
The Guardian
Tour operators want correct figures of tourist arrivals

TOUR operators have challenged the government to liaise with the country’s immigration department in establishing the exact number of tourists visiting the country every year.

The operators also want Tanzania Tourist Board (TTB) to disregard tourist data posted by the World Tourism Organization (WTO).

Chairperson of Tanzania Association of Tour Operators (TATO), Willy Chambulo, faulted the projections by WTO, saying they did not reflect the real situation on the ground.

“To get the figures right, TTB needs to liaise with the immigration department because they know the actual number of visitors through Visa payments,” highlighted Chambulo at the weekend during a roundtable meeting convened by hospitality and tourism players.

TATO has on a number of occasions faulted the government for allegedly making up figures to show that all was well with the country’s US$2 billion a year tourism industry.

However, TTB northern zone manager Willy Lyimo said that his office had recorded 1.3 million tourists that visited the country.

Lyimo refuted claims that the body responsible for marketing the country’s tourist destinations was relying on projections by the world tourism body.

“These are exact reliable figures, it is not true that we rely on WTO,” he explained.
According to WTO, the number of tourists that visited the country in 2015, stood at 1.3 million.

Mid this year, while tabling the ministry’s budget, Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism Prof Jumanne Maghembe told the house that the number of visitors to the country fell slightly in 2015 compared to the previous year.

According to the minister, a total of 1,102,619 tourists visited the country in 2015, a drop of 3.4 per cent from 2014 which recorded 1,140,156 tourist arrivals.

The revelations came at the backdrop of figures released by the Bank of Tanzania (BoT) which indicated that the country still earned $2.23billion from the sector in the year 2015.