Interview with Dr. Aloyce Nzuki MD of the Tanzania Tourism Board

TanzaniaInvest interviewed Dr. Aloyce K. Nzuki, Managing Director of the Tanzania Tourist Board (TTB), to learn about the Tanzania tourism products and about the investment opportunities available in this sector. : What is Tanzania’s tourism all about Dr. Nzuki?

Dr. Aloyce Nzuki: First and foremost, when you talk about Tanzania you are referring to stability and security. Since independence the country has been fairly stable. We have exchanged leaderships in a very peaceful and democratic way. Tanzania has been a pillar of peace. We host refugees from many other countries. Tanzania is also street safe. Visitors feel comfortable with this.

Also, we are very strong in natural resources, predominantly wildlife. World Economic Forum places Tanzania second after Brazil in terms of abundance of natural resources and beauty. We have worldclass wildlife and nature. Wildlife interactions and wilderness experience in Tanzania is simply outstanding. This is due to our conservation values, principles and policies. Tanzania has devoted and protected 28% of the country’s land for nature and wildlife. Not many countries can and will do this.{xtypo_quote_right}Tanzania has devoted and protected 28% of the country’s land for nature and wildlife. Not many countries can and will do this.{/xtypo_quote_right}

So Tanzania stands out from other competitors. In our National Parks, the demand for new investments is overwhelming. The Serengeti is protected and sacred to nature so investing in development is restricted. This is what gives Serengeti its value. Tanzania has not compromised with conservation values. It is pristine area.

TI : Does it mean that the sector is now closed to new investments or is there room for new projects?

AN : The development is gradual. The National Parks allow regulated and gradual development. Yes, investments are welcome but not at a rapid pace.

As a principle we look for accommodation facilities that blend in with the surroundings and environment. From the architecture to the local themes. So we are looking for special designers. We are looking for investors in Southern Tanzania, which is open to investment. Notably the Ruaha National Park, The Selous Game Reserve, and the Katavi National Park. So definitely, we want to expand our tourism geographically and product-wise.

TI : When people think of Tanzania they think of beautiful Safaris. What else can one experience in Tanzania?

AN : Cultural Tourism in Tanzania is becoming increasingly significant. We have about 40 registered Cultural Tourism Enterprises. Most of these enterprises are in Northern Wildlife areas in Tanzania where most of the mainstream tourism is. Only about 10 of those enterprises are in Southern and Western Tanzania. We provide these enterprises with technical support. There is a great potential also for conference and exhibition tourism. We do have the Arusha International Conference Centre that has 1,200 seats. We also have recently had a conference facility launched in Dar es Salaam that will has a seating capacity of 1,500.{xtypo_quote_left}We are looking for investors in Southern Tanzania, which is open to investment.{/xtypo_quote_left}

TI : TTB recently launched its new Marketing Strategy for Tanzania. What is this about?

This strategy will make use of the modern platform of communications, notably the ICTs including the social media. But also this strategy has narrowed the country’s focus so basically targeting the countries that have high return on investment which would include the traditional source markets. Currently most of our visitors come from the Uk, US, followed by Italy, Germany, France and Spain. However we also focus on new promising markets, notably the BRICS: Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. We also are aware of the GCC countries , including Saudi Arabia and UAE, together with Australia and Japan.

TI : What are your objectives regarding arrivals, tourist spending per day and accommodation capability in Tanzania?

AN : The abovementioned marketing strategy for 2012/3-17/18 aims to increase the number of arrivals from 900,000 visitors when the strategy was defined to 2 Million visitors by 2018. B y the end of 2012 we already had reached just over 1 Million visitors generating 1.4 Billion USD in revenues. This may be compared to other countries in the region where average spend per visitors is much less than Tanzania. Also we aim to increase the number of available rooms from 17,000 to 25,000. Current average expenditure per day by visitors in Tanzania is 286 USD per night. It includes accommodation, food and beverage, park entrances and transportation. We want to increase this figure by extending the length of stay but also by adding activities other than safari.

TI : Does it means Tanzania is a luxury safari destination for the well-off only?

No, it is a visitor’s choice to go luxury or to go budget. The offering in terms of accommodation facilities is wide enough to cater for different market segments. However the bottom line is that we want to maintain our natural resources as pristine as possible.
We are under lot of pressure from investors to allow establishment of additional accommodation facilities in the parks, particularly in the north. However our development strategy is clear: we will not succumb to any demand that would jeopardize the real value of these pristine places.
So Tanzania is to an extent a premium safari destination but this is the price that is needed for environmental conscious and sustainable tourism.{xtypo_quote_right}Tanzania is to an extent a premium safari destination but this is the price that is needed for environmental conscious and sustainable tourism{/xtypo_quote_right}

TI : What are the challenges ahead?

AN : Our current weakness, which is being addressed by the government, is inadequate tourism infrastructure. We know that for tourism to grow, access is very important. Right now the Aviation infrastructure has many projects going on to refurbished the many airports in Tanzania. So the weakness is something that can be changed and fixed. Our strength is unmatched. No one can copy Serengeti, the Ngorongoro and the beauty of our natural resources. Likewise we are improving visa issuance and facilitation at entry point to ensure visitors much much less time at border point.

TI :. What is your personal objective in TTB, what is the legacy you want to leave?

AN : The first day I came into office I knew that Tanzania needed to have its tourism base expanded. People are anxious to have their visitor numbers increase but we also need to expand our geography and products. So while my primary function is promotion, I know that promotion alone will not achieve the desired aims. We needed to diversify. We are about to get the Tanzanian Government approval for a major project. It will be one of the largest projects in Africa. It will be a mega exhibition center in Dar es Salaam. This will include a brand new cruise ship terminal with a marina, five star hotels and chain of restaurants an underwater aquarium and big shopping mall with cinemas and casinos, all in one piece of land. It will utilize both land and sea. So it is a huge project and we have been working on this proposal for two years. The project proposal has a connecting road related to it, between Chimara Road and Toure Drive to beat the current traffic jams that affect this part of Dar es Salaam. Future looks good.

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