International tourist arrivals to Tanzania grew by 10%, to 1 020 816 in the first 10 months of 2016. From January to October, visitor numbers increased from 924 442 arrivals during the same period in 2015. Last year, the Tanzanian government came under heavy criticism from the tourism fraternity after it introduced 18% VAT to tourism services. Industry players had warned that VAT would impact negatively on the sector, as tour packages would go up, resulting to low number of visitors to Tanzanian parks.
But last week, Tanzanian Minister for Finance and Planning, Philip Mpango, said: “VAT has nothing to do with poor performance in the tourism sector, as figures have shown that visitor numbers increased after the introduction of VAT to tourism services.”
According to Mpango, in the first quarter of 2016, 284 378 tourists visited the country compared with 265 490 in the same period the previous year, an increase of 7%. In the second quarter there were 242 460 compared with 239 221 arrivals the same period in 2015, an increase of just over 1%. The Minister pointed out that tourists had increased to 369 355 in the third quarter of last year, up from 335 610 in the same period in 2015, an increase of 10%.
In October 2016, 124 623 tourists arrived in the country compared with 84 121 visitors in October 2015. According to figures released by the Minister, the number of tourists who arrived through Julius Nyerere International Airport in the period under review increased to 252 524, up from 238 423 in 2015. Visitors who came through Kilimanjaro International Airport between January and October last year rose to 137 024, up from 126 286 the previous year.
Written by: Mathias Ringa
Date published: 17 Jan 2017