What is more important than gold in Tanzania? Tourism! A recent article reported that tourism has overtaken gold as Tanzania’s leading foreign exchange earner. And how important is tourism to the people of Tanzania? Tourism employs almost 500,000 people in the country.
In 2014 over 1 million people visited Tanzania and the country is looking to increase that number by about 20% this year and to more than double that amount by 2017. According to the World Bank one of the ways to accomplish that is to promote more tourism in Southern Tanzania (I agree) and to streamline the fees and taxes that are charged to tour operators. The World Bank reported that currently we are subject to 23 different taxes and 11 different duties for each tourist vehicle on safari. Now you know why safaris sometimes cost as much as they do!
The most important thing to remember and something that I tell people all the time is that tourism is very important to Tanzania and its people. Therefore not only do they want you to have a good time – they need you to have a good time and will do everything they can to ensure your safety and show you their pride in their culture. To the Tanzanians, you are more precious than gold.