Tanzania has started to invest heavily in conference tourism, banking on the country's conducive environment, good weather, good accommodation, modern meeting facilities, and improved communication infrastructure, a senior official said Thursday.
"We are bringing together hoteliers, tour and travel agents as well as representatives from local and International Airlines to hatch new means of capitalizing on conference tourism," said Devotha Mdachi, Director General of the Tanzania Tourist Board (TTB).
"Leisure tourism is slowly but surely being replaced by 'working visits,' where people travel from one place to another, not only to enjoy sceneries but also making use of the time in being productive away from office," Mdachi said when speaking at a conference organized by TTB in association with African Tourism Partners (ATP).
According to Mdachi, the TTB was setting up a special branch, which will work to address the issue of promoting Tanzania's conference tourism across the globe.
She said the east African nation was yet to make better use of conferences in attracting visitors to Tanzania, citing the case of 2017 when only eight international conferences took place here, compared with Rwanda, which had 21, thus topping the bill in east Africa.
Statistics from the conference indicate that the United States lead in the number of visitors attending conferences, followed by Germany. South Africa tops the log on the African Continent.
Kwachi Donkey, ATP chief executive officer, said his organization which intends to work with TTB has realized Tanzania was in the central position to be a hub of conference tourism in Africa.
"A visitor may come to Tanzania to see wildlife but make use of the chance to attend a meeting or vice versa," stated Donkey.
"That is why it is very important to have all tourist properties, including those located in remote parks, to be fully connected with powerful internet services," said some of the delegates at the meeting held in Arusha.
Tanzania receives around 1.3 million tourists per year.