By Damas Makangale, Caroline Alexandra
Despite news of wildlife poaching in Tanzania the current statistics show that the country is generating nearly 4 billion USD in the tourism sector; equal to 13% of the GDP MOblog can report.
Speaking to invited dignitaries at the cocktail party organized by the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany in Dar es Salaam, Chargé d’affaires Mr. Hans Koeppel said that after gold, tourism is the largest source of foreign exchange bringing 1.7 billion USD.
He said that for nearly 50 years the ITB has been the driving force in the worldwide travel industry with more than 170,000 visitors. Among these 113,000 trade visitors and 11,000 represented companies from 180 countries.
Mr Koeppel further noted that it opens its doors on Wednesday 5th March through to Sunday 9th March 2014. “About 80 Tanzanian companies such as hotels, tourism associations and tour operators are going to present Tanzania as a top travel destination to the world´s tourism professionals represented in Berlin,” “Next week you will have the chance to promote Tanzania’s image as a top tourist destination with highly attractive and unique sites.” He noted.
He further said that regular participation in the ITB for the last decades has given Tanzania access to lucrative markets not only in Europe but worldwide. “German tourists to Tanzania rank only fourth by numbers, but the picture changes when you look at the length of the stay as well as the return travels,” he added. Mr Koeppel underscored that their common goal is strengthening the cultural and economic ties of the two countries and the ITB offers a golden opportunity to foster the exchange of German tourists and Tanzanian citizens.
“Nevertheless, I am happy that around 80 Tanzanian tourism companies will be part of the ITB since there is still great potential in the German market,” “In order to tap into this potential, to mine this green gold vein, we need to start by securing its pillars. Safety comes first: this golden rule applies to any major endeavor,” “But especially to tourism.
It is therefore in all of our foremost interest to keep peace and prevent any strike – as for instance the bombings in Zanzibar this week - from putting our common endeavor at risk,” he said.He clarified that natural resources and wonders are under pressure by climate change and the recent poaching boom will need local and international cooperation to curb the malpractices.
Nyalandu said a new census at the Selous-Mikumi ecosystem, one of the country's biggest wildlife sanctuaries, revealed the elephant population had plummeted to just 13,084 from 38,975 in 2009, representing a 66-percent decline. He said elephant slaughter in Tanzania declined sharply after 1987 when the government launched a major anti-poaching operation, which led to an increase in herds from 55,000 in 1989 to 110,000 in 2009. But the poaching has revived in recent years, driven by fast-rising demand for Ivory and Rhino Horn in Asia in tandem with growing Chinese influence and investment in Africa. Many photos.