EATHE 2019 is an important opportunity for stakeholders in the sector to meet and discuss opportunities and common challenges at a policy level and it all kicked off at the EATHE 2019 Floor opening, which took place on 22nd March, Friday at 5h20 in the auditorium of the Four Point by Sheraton.

The opening address was by the Honourable Minister of Tourism, Dr. Hamisi Andrea Kigwangalla, Mr. Deogratius Kilawe chairman of EATHE 2019 and Leona Lemomo, the CEO of Msafiri Tours. Present were delegates from airline companies, hotels, travel companies, the Open University of Tanzania, National Tourism College, ZATI and others.

Mikono Speakers was honored to host the honorable Minister for the first time in its events. He officially launched the registration for both Buyers and Exhibitors of the 3rd edition for East Africa Tourism and Hospitality Expo. Since he took office thenumber of tourist has grown from 1.1m per annum to 1.5m and he expects the number to increase to 2 million by 2019.

During his opening remark the Minister stated that the future of tourism in Tanzania is lie on three things. First, increasing the use of Artificial Itelligence (AI), this ease the experience for travelers all the way from flight and hotel bookings to assisting the country to know the number of tourist in the country at any given time. Second, empowering local people to benefit from Tourism.The ultimate benefit reaches local people through social services and from selling local products to tourists e.g. Cultural items, food etc. Third, diversification of tourism services and products e.g. conferences and soccer.

“To increase the number of tourist in Tanzania we need to focus on bidding international events. Tourism is not about leisure only, these events bring a lot of tourist at par. South Korea has been doing well in tourism because they bid number of events around the world and so far they control 30% of majors events and this is the main reason they have number of tourist in their country.” Said Deogratius Kilawe, Chairman of EATHE 2019.

Leona Lemomo the CEO of MSafiri travels who has been in the industry for over ten years added that “the major challenge facing the industry that needs to be solved will boost the growth of the industry in the Country is to open the Southern circuit to increase accessibility to local and international tourists.

According to the 2018 BMI report on Tourism in Tanzania, the industry is playing an increasingly important role in the global economy, contributing 5% of gross domestic product (GDP), 30 percent of service exports, and 235 million jobs. Indeed, each year, approximately 1 billion people travel internationally. By 2030, consumer spending on tourism, hospitality, and recreation in Africa is projected to reach about $261.77 billion, $137.87 billion more than in 2015.

From 1998 to 2015, service exports, including of “industries without smokestacks” such as tourism, have grown about six times faster than merchandise exports in Africa. Africa’s travel and tourism industry continues to record impressive growth over the years. In 2017, the continent hit a 63 million high in international tourist arrivals as compared to 58 M in 2016 (+ 9% vs 2016).

Africa’s share of international tourist arrivals is 5%. Europe’s share is 51%, Asia and the Pacific 24%, Americas 16% and the Middle East 4% respectively. Results were driven by the continued recovery in Tunisia and Morocco and strong performance in Kenya, Côte d’Ivoire, Mauritius and Zimbabwe. Island destinations Seychelles, Cape Verde and Reunion recorded double-digit growth in arrivals.

The African economy has been gaining momentum, with the real output growth estimated to have increased by 3.8% in 2017 and expected to reach 4.1% by 2018/2019. Travel and tourism contributed a total of 8.1% to Africa’s GDP (USD 177.6 bn) in 2017. This percentage is expected to rise by 3.7% (to reach 12%) in 2018. Moreover, the direct contribution to the GDP stood at 3.3% in 2017.

The industry is also a major employer in the continent, supporting over 22 million jobs in 2017, approximately 6.5% of total employment. These include jobs directly & indirectly supported by the industry, and are expected to rise by 3.1% in 2018 to 23 million jobs.

Rise of international hotel brands is a key factor in the growth of the hospitality industry. Pipeline activity of 76,322 rooms in 418 hotels (with over 100 brands across Africa) have been reported in 2018. Of these, 47,679 rooms in 298 hotels are in Sub Saharan Africa, while North Africa recorded 28,643 rooms in 120 hotels.

In 2016, around 670 hotels and establishments were present in Tanzania, and we forecast robust growth in hotel numbers in the medium-to-long term, with the number of hotels and establishments expected to reach 830 in 2021.

Total overnight stays are expected to increase by 6.9% in 2017, reaching 14.0mn, with steady growth expected through to 2021. The average length of stay will remain stable, at around 9.6 nights, throughout the forecast period.

“We expect 2019 to have more than 2 Million tourists. Tanzania and Africa is vibrant melting pot for tourism: the diverse cultures, customs and traditions of our people, merged with the endless variety of our landscapes, blended with our unique biodiversity, tempered by our historical legacy, and fired by the spirit of freedom and equality, ” said the Minister.

However, he noted that if we are to be successful, everyone needs to pay more attention to the image and reputation of East Africa. “Not only through effective marketing, but by putting on a really great show when tourists arrive like Urithi Festival which is very important to give experience to tourists. Their word of mouth will do marketing for us and using social media begins the minute they arrive on our shores.”

The Minister adds that the East Africa Tourism and Hospitality Expo 2019 provides the ideal platform for African countries to work together. “A successful EATHE 2019 contributes to the success of tourism in all countries.”

Mr Kilawe added that, “Kilimanjaro is honored and privileged to host the Continent’s biggest tourism event in Africa. EATHE 2019 allows Kilimanjaro to be competitive in the tourism sector and brings the city a direct Tsh 2 billion revenue and an indirect longer term income of Tsh 50 Billion.”

East Africa Tourism and Hospitality Expo 2019 will have 2,300 meetings from 22nd – 24th November 2019, 400 exhibitors, 700 buyers and 144 media. Owned by Mikono Speaker, East Africa Tourism and Hospitality Expo 2019 is one of the largest tourism marketing events on the African calendar and showcases the widest variety of Africa’s best tourism products and services.

The event attracts quality buyers from across South Africa, the African continent and the world and is co-located with World Embassy Festival 2019, Kilimanjaro Festival 2019 and Africa Food and Drink Expo 2019. EATHE 2019 will impart key stakeholders with realistic strategic plans that will play a major role in shaping the future of tourism in Tanzania.

Niyi David

‘Niyi David is a travel writer/photographer and Editor-in-Chief at More Cream Than Coffee. Previously, he worked at Afro Tourism West Africa Ltd as a travel writer, and was Head of Media and C.O.O. before leaving in May 2018. Prior to that he had worked as scriptwriter on some major media projects in Nigeria, such as 'Peak Talent Show' and the Ford Foundation sponsored 'Stop Impunity in Nigeria' campaign.