The appointment of Tanzania’s first tourism goodwill ambassador on Australian soil marks the start of a major play for the local market, tourism officials have revealed.
Managing director of the Tanzania Tourist Board, Dr Aloyce K Nzuki, flew in from Africa last week to officially introduce Dr Casta Tungaraza to the trade, before embarking on trade roadshows in Perth, Adelaide and Sydney.
Speaking to Travel Today in Sydney, Nzuki said Tungaraza’s appointment demonstrated the country’s commitment to developing tourism links with Australia.
The UK and US are the nation’s top two markets with Australia in the top five, generating around 12,000 visitors each year.
“But we know that number could be easily increased. There’s huge potential,” he said. “We haven’t set a target but we know we could double the number easily in just one year.”
He highlighted the perception that Tanzania is unsafe as a major obstacle but insisted it was a “very peaceful and stable” country that had been tarnished by upheaval in neighbouring countries which include Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
In addition, the impression that it was an inaccessible distant land acted as a deterrent. But he said from July 25, Australians would be able to benefit from improved connections to Kilimanjaro - “the heart of the country’s tourism” - with the launch of Qatar Airways’ direct service from Doha. Australians would be able to connect to the service from Qatar ports in Melbourne and Perth.
“That’s just one stopover,” he said.
Tungaraza said educating Australians on the breadth of experiences in Tanzania was another challenge. While a “significant” proportion were visiting friends and relatives, the majority were predominantly coming to go on safari.
“Tanzania is not just about the big five,” Tungaraza said, highlighting beaches, culture and history as other draws.
The tourism body plans to work with wholesalers and media and explore sponsorship opportunities to grow interest in the destination, with the roadshow to visit Melbourne and Brisbane later this year.
“We are on a mission. We want to keep up the momentum,” Tungaraza said.