The Tanzania Tourism Board (TTB) believes Tanzania now shines prominently on the tourism world map partly because of the visits of prominent personalities to the country’s tourist attractions.
The TTB Managing Director, Ms Devota Mdachi, told journalists in Dar es Salaam yesterday that world prominent people didn’t want their private visits to Tanzania’s tourist attractions publicised and their requests were granted by the government and the board.
She explained, however, that “Their visits are a glaring evidence that our country is prominently shining on the tourism world map and increasing tourist arrivals is proof to that fact.
Tourists now know that Tanzania is not only safe, but that it has tourist attractions not found elsewhere on this planet.”
The journalists had wanted to know why the arrival and subsequent eight-day stay of retired US President Barrack Obama in Serengeti National Park were kept secret.
“That was the family’s request. We respect the wishes of such personalities. We did not publicise the visit of the President of the Switzerland, Mr Alain Berset because that, too, was a private family visit to our attractions.”
The DG named other prominent world figures who have visited Tanzania’s attractions as world-class footballer David Beckham, American film actor Will Smith and their families.
“These personalities come here to rest and do not want their enjoyment and rest encroached upon and we ensure strictly that,” she added.
Ms Mdachi gave illustrative comparative figures to indicate increasing numbers of tourist arrivals from the US and Switzerland. In 2012, US arrivals were 65,000 while last year, Tanzania received 67, 238 American tourists.
In 2012, the country hosted 10,356 Swiss tourists, rising to 14,474 tourists last year. The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) describes tourism as a powerful vehicle for economic growth and job creation.
In 2013, the UN agency says, the sector was directly and indirectly responsible for one out of 11 of all jobs globally and 4.4 per cent of the world’s investments.