According to a recent report in The Guardian, the Tanzania tourism industry is currently one of the primary national foreign exchange earners in the country, contributing to approximately 17.2 per cent of the gross domestic product (GDP) in addition to producing over 250,000 different job opportunities, both directly and indirectly.
In an interview with The Guardian, the managing director for the Tanzania Tourist Board (TTB), Peter Mwengo, said that the good performance of the tourism sector in the country has led to the need for diversifying the tourist attraction centers, especially in the Southern Circuit where there is currently an enormous potential for development.
The diversification of the tourist attraction centers around Tanzania is intended to not only reinforce the current progress that has been made in the sector, but also help to increase the contribution that tourism makes to the overall national economic development of the country.
According to Mr. Mwengo, the northern portion of the Southern Circuit has the most potential for attracting tourism and is quickly becoming the focal point for development.
Mr. Mwengo went on to say that, while it is still not as popular a destination as the Northern Circuit, Tanzania’s Southern Circuit offers a wealth of tourist attractions and amenities, however, what is lacking in the area is quick and easy access to these sites.
In addition, current pace of infrastructure development in the Southern Circuit is too slow, which is affecting the overall process of diversification.
In order to combat these challenges and to improve the overall performance of the tourism sector, Tanzania has adopted the Tourism Act, which was designed to help frame the country’s current tourism policy and master plan.
According to Mr. Mwengo, the ideal goal is for Tanzania to continue to increasingly attract a large amount of environmentally-friendly tourists who are able to contribute a decent amount to per capita spending.
“Implementation of the ongoing Integrated Infrastructure Development Program is slow,” said Mr. Mwengo, “and once the program is completed it will have a significant impact on the tourism sector in the Southern Circuit.”
In addition, Mr. Mwengo said that the construction sector in Tanzania was expected to play a critical role in the improvement and development of the roads and other systems of infrastructure such as the airports and runways, with projects such as the upgrade to the Songwe airport in Mbeya already underway.