Tanzania has opened a new chapter in Sport Tourism after the official launch of Golf Tourism Tanzania over the weekend. Launching the new tourism product at the Kilimanjaro Golf course, Usa River, Arusha yesterday, Chief Guest, the Kenyan Minister of Tourism and Wildlife, Najib Balala commended Tanzania for entering this important step of using golf as one of the tourism products.
He said Kenya has made great strides in Golf Tourism and they are ready to help their neighbours achieve that goal.
Kenya is already hosting a European Tour tournament that attracts many European tourists and top players earning them a lot of foreign currency.
“In November this year we are also organising the Ladies European Tour at Vipingo course in Mombasa, we will invite Tanzania as well.
“This launch opens up a very important opportunity for cooperation in our countries, we want to join forces and attract tourists who will visit all our countries,” said Balala.
Damas Ndumbaro, the Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism, said the launch was part of the implementation of the 1999 Tourism Policy and the CCM Election Manifesto to increase new tourism products. The initiative will be implemented under the Tanzania Tourism Board (TTB).
He said it was also in support of President Samia Suluhu’s efforts in promoting tourism and developing where he left off in the Royal Tour programme as sports and tourism have a great opportunity to bring benefits to both parties.
He thanked Balala for responding to the call and came to support the new product by participating in the launch.
Ndumbaro said: “Tourism is a major contributor to the country’s economy. Prior to the COVID-19 disaster this sector was contributing more than 25 per cent of foreign exchange and more than 1.6m jobs.
“Despite that achievement compared to existing tourism resources, this sector still contributes less to the economy and relies more on wildlife tourism.”
He said golf is one of the sports that attract a large number of tourists and thus contributes to the country’s economy.
He added: “Statistics show that this game contributes more than USD 20bn US Dollar globally per year.
Due to this importance, the Ministry has decided to recognise and advertise it in collaboration with local and foreign stakeholders.”
The Minister said the evidence is in the Diplomatic tournament which teed off yesterday at Kili Golf that has drawn more than 140 players from 13 countries including the American, Australia, Canada, Belgium, Netherland, England, China, Kenya, India, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Uganda and hosts Tanzania.
He commended Kili golf course owners for putting in place a wonderful course that is first in Tanzania and 5th in Africa that promote itself through organising top events easily.
TTB Board Chairman Judge Thomas Mihayo said they were relieved to start golf tourism and that it is product that will bring more people on course.
“It is an important day for TTB, I congratulate Minister Ndumbaro for designing this, we promise to implement it, we have set ourselves the goal of attracting 5 million tourists by 2025 and golf is a popular sport that attracts many people around the world so we will use it to achieve that goal though the World still fight against COVID- 19,” he said.
He urged Tanzanians to love the game so as to attract more people and also to construct modern courses.