China-Tanzania Tourism and Cultural Year begins as Tanzania tries to attract more visitors

Tanzania's Minister of Natural Resources and Tourism Angellah Kairuki (second from left) attends an event in Beijing on May 16, 2024. Photo: Li Hao/GT

Tanzania’s Minister of Natural Resources and Tourism Angellah Kairuki (second from left) attends an event in Beijing on May 16, 2024. Photo: Li Hao/GT

Tanzania, a jewel of East Africa known for its stunning natural landscapes and rich biodiversity, recently launched the China-Tanzania Year of Tourism and Culture in collaboration with Chinese authorities.

Tanzania’s tourism authority aims to increase the number of tourists from China, recognizing it as an important tourist source market.

“We are launching targeted marketing campaigns in China to raise awareness of our rich natural landscapes, wildlife, cultural heritage and adventure activities,” Tanzania’s Minister of Natural Resources and Tourism, Angellah Kairuki, told the Global Times in a recent interview. .

“These campaigns will use multiple platforms, including social media platforms, travel websites and traditional advertising channels.”

Partnerships and collaborations with Chinese travel agencies, tour operators, airlines and media are key components of these promotional efforts. “We aim to forge strong partnerships to promote Tanzania as a preferred tourist destination,” Kairuki said.

Cultural exchange events, festivals and exhibitions in both countries will also play an important role in fostering mutual understanding and appreciation, he noted.

Apart from Tanzania’s tourist attractions, the current Tanzania-Zambia railway is also well known in China, as the project was completed with Chinese support in the 1970s.

A popular Chinese television drama Welcome to Milele in 2023, which outlines the decades-old medical aid cooperation between China and Africa, has also shed light on Tanzania’s outlook.

Rich heritage

Tanzania has seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Serengeti National Park, Kilimanjaro National Park and the Stone Town of Zanzibar.

According to the Bank of Tanzania economic report, the number of tourists visiting the country in 2023 exceeded 1.8 million, while foreign exchange earnings recorded a record growth of $3.4 billion, an increase of 36 percent compared with the same period in 2022.

The China-Tanzania Year of Tourism and Culture is expected to significantly boost Chinese people’s interest and understanding of Tanzania’s tourism landscape, Kairuki said.

“Our dedicated approach to promoting tourism and cultural exchange will raise awareness among Chinese tourists about Tanzania’s various attractions,” Kairuki said.

“Through targeted marketing campaigns and promotional events, Chinese travelers will learn about our wildlife safaris, pristine beaches, cultural heritage and adventure activities.”

Participating in cultural exchange activities will allow Chinese tourists to immerse themselves in Tanzania’s rich cultural heritage, the minister highlights.

“Through cultural performances, art exhibitions, traditional ceremonies and culinary experiences, Chinese travelers will gain a deeper understanding and appreciation of Tanzanian culture,” he said.

“Special events and festivals will provide unique engagement opportunities, while collaborative partnerships will result in travel packages and personalized experiences.”

A view of the stone town of Zanzibar, Tanzania Photo: VCG

A view of the stone town of Zanzibar, Tanzania Photo: VCG

Threat of climate change

The two countries, which are also celebrating the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations, recognize that climate change poses a significant threat to natural environments and wildlife.

To combat these challenges, Tanzania has devised comprehensive climate adaptation and mitigation plans.

“We are committed to investing in renewable energy sources to reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” Kairuki said.

“Our policies focus on protecting and restoring ecosystems, establishing conservation areas to safeguard biodiversity, and educating the public about the impacts of climate change and adaptation strategies.”

These efforts are not solitary efforts by the government, but involve a collaborative approach with various stakeholders, including scientists and local communities, the minister noted.

“By working together, we can develop effective strategies to protect our natural environments and wildlife,” Kairuki said, highlighting the importance of inclusive participation in addressing climate change.

Safety and comfort for tourists are critical to the sustained success of the tourism industry. The Tanzanian government has plans to strengthen service guarantees for tourists.

“We have established dedicated tourist police units in major destinations to ensure the safety of visitors,” Kairuki said. “These specially trained officers are available to address any concerns or emergencies that tourists may encounter.”

Sustainability matters

Sustainable tourism is a crucial focus for Tanzania. Tanzania’s rich natural landscapes require careful protection and management. The Tanzanian government has implemented several measures to safeguard these treasures.

“We have established 21 national parks managed by the Tanzania National Parks Authority,” Kairuki said. “These parks are governed by strict policies and regulations to ensure wildlife conservation and responsible tourism activities.”

In addition to national parks, Tanzania has designated reserves and controlled areas where wildlife conservation is prioritized. These areas are managed by government agencies and conservation organizations.

Community-based conservation initiatives also play a crucial role, actively involving local communities in the management and conservation of natural resources.

“This approach not only helps protect wildlife but also ensures sustainable livelihoods for local communities,” the minister said.

Anti-poaching efforts are another critical aspect of Tanzania’s conservation strategy.

“We have implemented severe measures to combat illegal hunting and wildlife trafficking,” says Kairuki.

“This includes deploying anti-poaching patrols, using technology such as drones and GPS tracking, and collaborating with international conservation organizations.”

Beach tourism is another area of ​​interest, with investments in infrastructure development, hotel services and marketing campaigns to attract water sports enthusiasts and leisure travelers to Tanzania’s pristine beaches.

Ecotourism and sustainable accommodation options, such as eco-lodges and community accommodation, are being promoted to minimize environmental impact and support local communities.

Community-based tourism initiatives empower local communities to participate in and benefit from tourism activities, promoting sustainable development and poverty alleviation.

“These initiatives involve local ownership, employment opportunities, cultural exchanges and revenue sharing mechanisms,” Kairuki said.

The sustainable development of the tourism economy is crucial for Tanzania, and the government is keen to promote diversification in the tourism sector to reduce dependence on wildlife tourism.

“We are focusing on the development of cultural tourism, highlighting traditional practices, arts, festivals and historical monuments,” Kairuki said. “By showcasing our cultural diversity, we attract tourists interested in immersive cultural experiences.”