THE government has embarked on an ambitious recovery plan aimed at boosting the tourism sector after being hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic.
Reviving the $2.5bn worth tourism sector to its normal state will spur other businesses, recover thousands of lost jobs and generate revenue.
Tanzania is known for its wonderful tourist attractions, including stunning landscapes dotted with the flora and fauna and rich cultural heritage.
But the outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic made the tourism sector incur huge losses due to travel restrictions imposed by governments worldwide to quell the menacing virus.
Statistics from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism shows that the number of tourists who visited the country declined sharply by 76 per cent from 1.9 million last year to about 437,000.
The hardest hit tourism sector by the deadly pathogen is the country’s major foreign exchange earner, which badly needs revenue to implement flagship projects.
Tourism contributes about 17.2 per cent to the country’s GDP and 25 per cent of all foreign exchange revenue and provides direct employment to more than 600,000 people.
In May this year, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism rolled out Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) to cushion the lucrative sector against the effects of the novel coronavirus.
The government’s move to reopen its airspace for international flights after few months of restriction is another important decision which is making the tourism sector pick up.
The sector is offering a ray of hope, as the onset of the peak tourism season has ushered in a new era with major international airlines resuming flights to the country’s Northern Tourism Circuit.
For example, since the government reopened its airspace Tanzania has received over 30,000 visitors.
Alongside these efforts, Tanzania has restored tourist trust particularly after President John Magufuli declared victory against the deadly global pandemic, assuring visitors that the country was free from Covid-19.
It is only in Tanzania where its residents go about their businesses, the situation which is different in other regional and global parts of the world as the pathogen is still claiming the lives of many people.
Prudent decisions made by the government during these terrible moments of the Covid-19 have yielded positive results as hordes of tourists are flocking to the country as they are sure they will be safe.
Therefore, it is important that Tanzanians continue supporting the government to revive the tourism sector and enhance its contribution to economic growth.