In Summary

Ms Samia made the statement on Friday, October 13, when launching the 3rd Edition of the Swahili International Tourism Expo (S!TE).

 Dar es Salaam. Vice President Samia Suluhu Hassan has challenged tourism stakeholders on how to find innovative ways of penetrating the market and attracting more tourists to Africa.

Ms Samia made the statement on Friday, October 13, when launching the 3rd Edition of the Swahili International Tourism Expo (S!TE).

She urged exhibitors and visitors from member states of the East African Community (EAC) and Southern African Development Community (SADC) to take full advantage  of the S!TE platform so as to promote their business and intra-Africa tourism initiatives that will  see Africans travel within the continent.

A recent report released by United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) showed that intra- Africa tourism grew from 34 to 44 per cent of the total number of Africa tourists visiting other African countries between 2007 and 2017.

Moreover, the VP was optimistic that the percentage would grow up to 50 per cent over the next ten years.

"I am honoured to be here to witness these collective successes for Africa and would like to congratulate those African countries who are participating in this expo, ranging from those who are participating as exhibitors," she said.

Further she said this year S!TE will provide the Tanzania tourism sector and other exhibitors an opportunity to delve and engage in meaningful discussions that will end up identifying the opportunities resulting from the sector.

"I wish to assure you that the government is fully committed to the successfully development of tourism in Tanzania and will continue to ensure that there is a better socio-economic environment of this development to take place, " said VP.

According to her, tourism is currently one of the leading economic sectors in the country. The number of international tourist arrivals reached to 1.2 million in 2016, whose total expenditure amounted to $2.1 million.

Earlier, Tanzania Tourist Board managing director Devota Mdachi said this year S!TE has attracted over 150 exhibitors from various countries.

She said over 180 tourism agents are also visiting the expo with the aim of exchanging business and finding areas for investments.

Meanwhile the minister for Natural Resources and Tourism Dr Hamis Kingwangala challenged the tourism stakeholders to use the S!TE as an opportunity to link their business to international buyers.

"This expo has come timely when the government is focusing on increasing the number of tourists," he said.