DAR ES SALAAM, TANZANIA - Tanzania has inaugurated a US$10.6 million state-of-the art tourism college that is expected to enroll 605 students annually from the Southern African Development Community (SADC) in an effort to modernize tourism services in the region.
The National College of Tourism that was funded jointly by the Tanzania Government ($2.7 million) and Japan ($7.8 million) will conduct training in tourism services and human resources.
The Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism, Ezekiel Maige said the modern college will assume the role of a centre of excellence for educating and training the tourism sector workforce to upgrade the tourism and hospitality industries in the country and the SADC region.
"The facility will be fully equipped with the state-of-the-art training and demonstration facilities, laboratories, service and conference venues," said the Minister.
"It is a well known fact that tourism is a fast growing sector in Tanzania with the total contribution to GDP of 12.9 percent," adding that the Government expects the sector to grow to 13.4% of GDP by 2021.
The minister said in recent years the contribution of tourism to the national economy through tourism has been increasingly steadily. Tourists arrivals increased from 714,367 in 2009 and earning the industry $1.15 billion to 782,699 visitors that earned the industry 1.25 billion in 2010. "However, there are challenges to surmount to grow the sector especially with regard to provision of high quality products and services," said the Minister.
Analysts counsel that Tanzania should invest more in tourism advertisement locally and globally to make full advantage of its tourism attractions.
Statistics from the Tanzania Tourist Board show that around $3 million is spent annually to promote Tanzania's tourism attractions in the country, which is far below South Africa's $70 million promotion budget.
The French Ambassador to Tanzania, Jacques Labriolle, told The East African Business Week in Dar es Salaam last week that the National College of Tourism will be "a major contributor to the Tourism industry and the economy" of Tanzania. "There is a growing demand for tourism sector at large, and for high standards of service in the hotel and restaurant sectors," he said.