Tourism in Tanzania has been growing yearly and is fast becoming one of the major sources of income in the country. Game safaris, hot air balloon launches, cultural tourism, and holidays on the beaches of Zanzibar and Pemba have attracted thousands of tourists to the country.
Tourism plays a significant role in the national economy, accounting for more than 16% of the gross national product (GNP). It is also an important source for foreign exchange. In 2004, Tanzania earned about 746 million US dollars from 582 thousand international visitors. A year later, it earned about $822 million from 612 thousand tourists.
Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism Saleh Pamba offers the following details.
“Tanzania is fairly a large country with a lot of attractions. The major ones … include…[Mount] Kilimanjaro, which is the highest mountain in Africa.... We have the Serengeti National Park, which is one of the most beautiful parks in the world, and we have the unique Ngorongoro Crater, which is considered to be the 8th wonder of the world. [And let’s not forget] Zanzibar and Pemba. They have a lot of history and excellent beaches. Tanzania is a really multifaceted destination.”
The country's tourist board and Tanzania National Parks are promoting tourism inside and outside the country. Within the country, there is an annual tourist fair. It brings together companies and foreign investors, which together devise campaigns to help the sector grow. Tanzania also advertises abroad through media and fairs.
Tourism companies credit Tanzania with natural beauty, friendly people, and security-- all appealing traits to travelers. Pamba says there is also plenty of natural diversity in plant and animal life.
“The modern trend is ecotourism, and we have devoted almost 28% of our land as conservation areas. These are ideal for ecotourism because they are well protected. We have beautiful islands and marine parks (that also have) big potential for ecotourism. All sorts of activities can be done here in Tanzania; fishing is one of them, (so is) scuba diving; we have two marine parks with a lot of interesting underwater resources,” he says.
Apart from that, Tanzania is also known for historical tourism and cultural tourism and even, at least among Tanzanians, the unusual, like skydiving.
Neil Bradley was born in the UK and is now a New Zealand resident; he made his first jump in 1992, and has completed 7,000 jumps to date. Bradley is a managing director of Skydive Kilimanjaro which operates over the skies of the mountain. He explains why Tanzania is in his opinion the best place for skydiving.
“I have traveled from New Zealand just to do this, just to go and sky dive over Mount Kilimanjaro. Me and my girlfriend did the first jump about three weeks ago. I was a sky diver before, and I never ever had my heart miss a beat, but when we pointed to the clouds and saw Mount Kilimanjaro… it was…I am going to gasp just talking about this. As far as ultimate places for sky diving, this is it. And I have jumped almost everywhere in the world, but this is just…it’s a magical place. ”
Tanzanian government officials share Bradley’s enthusiasm.
Saleh Pamba of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism has just one thing to say: “Karibuni, Tanzania.”
In other words, “Welcome!”
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