Travel Agent’s New York offices were recently graced with a visit from Dr. Aloyce Nzuki, the new managing director of the Tanzania Tourist Board. Dr. Nzuki has worked with Tanzania’s ministry of tourism as an assistant director of tourism, and brings more than 20 years of experience to his new role.
One of Dr. Nzuki's main goals in his new position is to try and provide a strategic direction for tourism development. “We have reached the point where we need to increase tourism supply,” he said.
To that end, he is working on several projects to bring in more visitors throughout the year.
The country's tourism numbers drop precipitously from January to May, he explained, and this seasonality has a ripple effect throughout the industry. Because hotels don’t have a steady rate of occupancy throughout the year, they have to keep their prices high enough to keep the properties open, meaning that guests who visit during the high season pay more than they would if the hotels were occupied year-round. “If we have business during the down-season—maybe not as high as the peak season—it will help,” Dr. Nzuki said.
Dr. Nzuki is also looking to improve development around the country’s 15 national parks. If a hotel is built in the wilderness, he explained, lodging must also be provided for the hotel’s employees. Soon, a town has sprung up, and the area is no longer the pure African wilderness that visitors to Tanzania want to experience. To that end, he is encouraging development closer to existing towns outside of the parks, so that visitors can get to the wilderness quickly, but civilization won’t encroach on the natural beauty that is so unique to the country.
Dr. Nzuki is also looking to make it easier for visitors to get to Tanzania, and to help them do more once there. For example, he said, it must be easy for visitors to book trips and experiences online, and hotels must be linked to a GDS system for agents to use. While numerous airlines fly to Tanzania, he wants to add more flights from more countries. Currently, South African Airways offers same-day connections from New York, and visitors can also fly Ethiopian Airlines, Emirates and Eithad. British Airways, Delta and KLM also fly to Tanzania.
In the meantime, there are many unique experiences in Tanzania that visitors would have difficulty finding anywhere else. For example, while nature enthusiasts might want to visit Kenya to see the migration in the Maasai Mara, the same migration continues across the Serengeti for 10 months. While other parks might have 50 cars of tourists surrounding two lions in a national park, the vastness of the Serengeti means that the numbers are easily reversed. There are only 12 properties in the Serengeti, with a total of 1,000 beds, giving guests a true African wilderness experience.