Tanzania plans to grow its tourism numbers by about 40 percent to 1.5 million visitors this year, lifted by growing attention for its attractive sites from Asian countries and security woes facing its northern neighbor Kenya, its tourism minister told Reuters.
The second east Africa’s largest economy is famed for its safari parks beneath snow capped Mount Kilimanjaro.
In the year to September, tourism earned more hard currency than gold exports for the first time in several years, Central Bank data show.
“Our target is very, very ambitious but we think it can be achieved,” Tourism and Natural Resources Minister Khamis Kagasheki told Reuters in an interview.
Tourist numbers hit the 1 million mark for the first time in 2012. Tourism earnings raked in $1.818 billion in the 12 months to September, up from $1.61 billion a year earlier.
Tanzania has sought to capitalize on neighboring Kenya’s security woes. Both countries compete for sun worshipers seeking an Indian Ocean idyll as well as wildlife enthusiasts.
The number of tourists visiting Kenya sank 15 percent in the first five months of the year and an attack by Somali militants on a Nairobi shopping mall which killed at least 67 people will have damaged confidence in Kenya as a holiday destination.