The 2019 edition of the Swahili International Tourism Expo (SITE2019) has officially opened at the Mlimani Conference Centre in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
The event is the country’s biggest travel and tourism show and is gradually picking up pace with some of the leading expos in East Africa and the continent at large. SITE2019 is having in attendance, participants from 60 countries around the world; China, Ukraine, Sweden, Uganda, Malawi, amongst others. At the official opening ceremony today, Board Chair of the Tanzania Tourist Board Judge(Rtd) Thomas Mihayo said the Expo is aimed at allowing all international tourist to meet and transact tourism business while getting the opportunity to experience the country’s tourism offerings.
He said over the years, SITE has become the platform for investors and tourism players to converge under one roof to discuss business and investment opportunities in the sector.
Minister of Natural Resources and Tourism, Dr. Hamis Kigwangala said the Expo is important in growing and advertising Tanzania’s tourism inside and outside the country. Reiterating the importance of tourism to the country, the Minister said, “tourism is here to help the economy of our country.” According to the UNWTO, there was one billion tourists worldwide last year, 67 million visited Africa and out of that we had one million visiting Tanzania.”
He mentioned that Tanzania presents some of the best tourism destinations in the world, including; Ngorongoro Crater, Serengeti National Park and Mount Kilimanjaro which he said he mobilized his colleague government officials to climb earlier this year to convince more people to follow suit. He added that the country offers the best safaris in the world and the Zanzibar Island is a little paradise which every tourist must visit.
In a bid to shore up the tourism numbers and give visitors alternatives, the Minister averred that they are embarking on strategies for product diversification towards the tourism industry. This, he said will help shift attention to areas such as MICE tourism.
Performing the official opening of SITE 2019, Guest of Honour and Chief Secretary of the State House, Engineer John Kijazi praised the Ministry and the Board for continuously pushing government’s efforts to promote Tanzania’s tourism agenda. He however charged them to step up efforts to increase the numbers, asserting that, “we get the same number of tourists as Mauritius but we have more attractions so we can do better.”
He assured tourists of their safety when they are in the East African country. “You are safe in Tanzania, security wise and health wise,” he empathized.
For the next three days SITE 2019 will focus on inbound and outbound travel business to and within Tanzania.
The event will showcase the travel possibilities in the country through networking events, B2B sessions and exhibitions. There will also be a post event fam trip for hosted buyers and international media to experience the country’s unique tourism offerings that the make Tanzania, unforgettable.
By: Samuel Obeng Appah