ADAM IHUCHA reports in the Arusha Times newspaper that tourism has overtaken gold as Tanzania’s leading foreign exchange earner.
The industry earned Tanzania $2.5 billion in the year ending January 2015, up from $1.89 billion in the year ending January 2014. Stakeholders estimate that the country received one million plus holidaymakers in the period under review. Bank of Tanzania’s February Monthly Economic Review indicates that gold exports value plunged from $1.64 billion to $1.31 billion in the period under review, as both export volume and price in the world market dropped. Tanzania Association of Tour Operators (TATO)’s CEO, Sirili Akko, says that Tanzania remains competitive, thanks to the state’s holding back new taxes and fees. “Besides political stability, the government’s suspended implementation of new value-added taxes and entry fees enable Tanzania to remain competitive as a destination,” says Mr Akko. Natural Resources and Tourism Minister, Lazaro Nyalandu, shelved the enforcement of new taxes and fees in a bid to make Tanzania a competitive tourist destination in Africa. Specifically, he suspended the implementation of national park’s new entry fees, as well as VAT on tourist guiding, game driving, water safaris, animal or bird watching, park fees, tourist charter services and ground transports. Tanzania hopes the number of tourist arrivals will grow by 1.2 million this year, up from one million visitors in 2014.