Tourism revenues experienced a substantial surge, increasing by 37.5 percent to reach $3.3 billion in the period up to November 2023, as revealed in the Bank of Tanzania’s monthly economic review for December 2023. Concurrently, tourist arrivals exhibited a notable rise of 27 percent, totaling 1.797 million visitors.
This robust growth in the tourism sector, marked by both revenue and visitor numbers, can be attributed to the steady economic recovery from the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The report underscores the rebound of the tourism sector, with a 27 percent increase in tourist arrivals contributing to the surge in travel receipts. Notably, Tanzania’s tourism industry has now become the leading contributor to foreign exchange earnings, surpassing gold, which generated $3 billion in the corresponding period, compared to $2.8 billion the previous year.
In contrast to the challenging year of 2020, during which global travel restrictions led to a drastic reduction in travel receipts to $1 billion and tourist arrivals plummeted to 616,490, the industry has made a remarkable recovery. The current numbers align with official projections, indicating a positive trajectory for the sector.
Looking ahead, the Tanzanian government has set ambitious targets of welcoming at least 5 million tourists and achieving $6 billion in tourism receipts by 2025. While stakeholders in the tourism sector express optimism about the industry’s future, they emphasize the need for strategic measures from both the government and the private sector to fully realize Tanzania’s tourism potential in the coming years.
Kennedy Edward, the Chief Executive of the Hotel Association of Tanzania (HAT), remains optimistic about the industry’s prospects. He acknowledges the susceptibility of the sector to global shocks but highlights the positive change in Tanzanian culture, with increasing numbers of locals spending their disposable incomes on visiting local attractions. This cultural shift, coupled with population growth and rising awareness among Tanzanians, bodes well for the tourism industry.
Edward also commends ongoing tourism marketing campaigns and anticipates that concerted efforts to promote Tanzania as a preferred tourist destination will attract even more visitors in the future.