US now the largest tourism market for Tanzania

The designed two-week leisure safari to Tanzania was firstly carried out in 2011 and the second one took place last year. The third one has been organized to take place from June 25th this week to end July 4th, the days which the US President Barack Obama is on official tour to Tanzania.

The annual Discover Tanzania VIP Safari has been organised, guided and led by the Ambassador Maajar herself, aimed at exposing Tanzania’s tourism and investment opportunities before American tourists and investors.

Discover Tanzania VIP Safari targets a section of prominent American business executives, hoping to attract and encourage them to visit Tanzania as tourists and invest their monies in tourism and other economic ventures.

Participants in last year’s “Discover Tanzania Safari” were able to visit Tanzania’s natural and cultural attractions, as well as exploring business and investment opportunities available in this African safari destination and met the Union President, Mr Jakaya Kikwete, at a dinner function.

The US business executives also met Zanzibar’s President, Dr. Ali Mohamed Shein, at a similar working dinner where they will chart out issues affecting tourism and investment on the Indian Ocean island of Zanzibar. Tanzania’s leading attractive sites pulling American tourists include the Serengeti National Park, Mount Kilimanjaro, Ngorongoro Crater, and the spice islands of Zanzibar.

For the first time ever, the United States represents the largest single tourism market for Tanzania, attracting a record high of 58,379 visitors taking over from the traditional place held by the UK market.

Combined with Canada, the number of visitors from North America reached 83,930 in recent years. Supporting this growth of tourism from North America to mainland Tanzania and the spice islands of Zanzibar, is the fact that the number of American and Canadian tour operators offering Tanzania as a stand-alone destination has also soared. Before ending her tour of duty in the US in February this year, Ambassador Maajar had organized and announced the Third Discover Tanzania VIP Safari in Washington DC late last year.

She expressed her willingness to lead and guide a group of business executives on the third annual VIP business and leisure safari to Discover Tanzania, scheduled for June 25th July 4th, 2013, the same days which Tanzania is welcoming Mr. Obama. Tanzania, the largest country in East Africa, is focused on wildlife conservation and sustainable tourism, with approximately 28 percent of the land protected by the Government, the largest percentage of any country in the world.

The country boasts of 16 National Parks and 31 game reserves, 50 Game Controlled Areas, one Conservation Area and two Marine Parks. It is home to the tallest mountain in Africa, the legendary Mt. Kilimanjaro; The Serengeti, home to the “Great Animal Migration” that was named the New a Natural Wonder of Africa.

Major American media including the USA Today newspaper, ABC TV’s Good Morning America and CNN have all been writing, broadcasting and screening some of Tanzania’s leading tourist attractions to the American people.

Among the most visited Tanzanian wildlife parks by the American people are the Ngorongoro Crater, often referred to as the “Eden of Africa” and the “Eighth Wonder of the World”; the Olduvai Gorge commonly known as the cradle of mankind, the Selous Game Reserve, the world’s largest wildlife game; Mount Kilimanjaro – The highest mountain in Africa, Ruaha National Park, now the second largest National Park in Africa and the spice islands of Zanzibar – seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Most important for visitors, the Tanzanian people, with a rich history and diverse blend of cultures, are warm and friendly. On December 9, 2011, Tanzania, an oasis of peace and stability with a democratically elected and stable government, celebrated its 50th Anniversary of Independence in 2011 with commitment to develop tourism and spearheading conservation of wildlife and nature.

Ambassador Maajar was the first female ambassador to the two of the most powerful countries, and undoubtedly, she has raised the bar so high that it will complicate the life of anyone appointed to either post. Indisputably, she returns home a heroine of her own kind having achieved what many would consider unfeasible.

She was appointed by President Jakaya Kikwete in April 2006 as Tanzania’s High Commissioner to the UK where she completed her tour of duty in July 2010 before posted to Washington where she ended her tour of duty early this year. World Bank’s Tanzania Country Briefs says that Tanzania is becoming one of the best performers in Sub Saharan Africa in recent years growth in gross domestic product (GDP) averaged between 5 and 7 per cent.

The potential for profitable foreign investment in the country is huge in such a diverse range of industries as tourism, energy, agriculture, infrastructure, transportation, and mining. H.E. Maajar stated that “Tanzania is rich in natural resources and natural wonders, including world-renowned tourist attractions (Serengeti National Park, Mt. Kilimanjaro, Ngorongoro Crater, and the spice islands of Zanzibar); prime geographical location (six landlocked countries depend on Tanzanian ports); abundant arable land; a skilled labor force; warm, friendly people; and assurance of safety.”

Ken Flechler, Vice President, Pike Electric Corp, based in Mt. Airy, North Carolina, joined the first VIP Safari in 2011, together with Pike CEO, J. Eric Pike, his wife Belinda Pike and their two sons, Will and Ben. Pike Electric’s operation in Tanzania represents the Company’s first international venture.

Flechler said, “Beyond the natural beauty throughout the countryside, the excitement of the safari and the diversity of culture, this VIP Safari led by Ambassador Maajar, afforded Pike the chance to strengthen existing relationships here in Tanzania as well as the opportunity to develop new friendships that will have a broader impact for the country and our operations around the world.

This is an exciting time to be part of Tanzania’s development, growth and expansion, Pike looks forward to becoming an integral part of the country’s future and a key partner for helping develop a strong partnership with the United States.”

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