By Zephania Ubwani and Agencies
Arusha — Tanzania is among the top ten countries in Africa which have recorded the fastest growth in tourism.
Within eastern Africa, Tanzania only trails Kenya and Ethiopia and South Africa, Mauritius, Seychelles, Botswana and Namibia in the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) region.
The Travel and Tourism Competitive Index 2019 report just released by the Jumia Africa Hospitality Group indicated that Tanzania is 10th in the tourism growth ranking of over 50 African states.
“African countries (including Tanzania) are now reaping the benefits of positive policy changes coupled with increased investments in the sector,” the report reads in part.
With the number of expected tourists to the country estimated at 1.5 million this year, tourism remains one of the fastest-growing sectors of the economy.
For years, Tourism has accounted for 17 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) – and is the leading sector in foreign exchange earnings. Last year, it generated over $2 billion (about Sh4.6 trillion).
Africa recorded a seven percent rise in the number of tourist arrivals last year, during which 67 million tourists visited the continent, making it the second fastest-growing tourism region after Asia-Pacific.
The report said Africa is increasingly becoming an attractive destination due to reforms taken to improve the ease of hotel investments and air transport connectivity. Ethiopia, for instance, has overtaken the hitherto-leading tourist destinations in the continent – mainly in the north and southern Africa – to become Africa’s fastest-growing travel country, thanks to its unrivaled airline.
Improved flight connectivity has seen Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa transformed into a regional transport hub, overtaking Dubai as the world’s gateway to Africa.