Israel visa centre in Tanzania to boost trade, tourism - The East African

Israel visa centre in Tanzania to boost trade, tourism

Friday January 20 2017

Kilimanjaro International Airport has been

Kilimanjaro International Airport has been handling nearly 80 per cent of the tourists visiting Tanzania annually. PHOTO | FILE 

By APOLINARI TAIRO

Tanzania and Israel are seeking to boost bilateral relations, with Tel Aviv setting up a visa processing centre in Dar es Salaam.

President John Magufuli has also expressed his intention to open an embassy in Tel Aviv.

Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism Jumanne Maghembe said that the visa centre would attract more Israeli tourists and business people to the country, and facilitate visa applications for Tanzanians looking to visit Israel.

Prof Maghembe said tourist charter planes from Israel were welcome to Tanzania, while travel documents would be processed in Dar es Salaam at the visa centre that opened late last year.

Israel still conducts its business with Tanzania through its embassy in Nairobi, where the ambassador, Yael Vilan, is based. Tanzanians wishing to travel to Israel too, have been processing their documents at the Nairobi embassy.

Tanzania Tourist Board managing director Devota Mdachi told The EastAfrican that Tanzania is among African countries attracting Israeli tourists in large numbers, while a number of Tanzanians were looking to travel to Israel on religious pilgrimages.

“There are ongoing negotiations between the Tanzania government and Israel on how to strengthen and speed up travel and tourism links between the two nations,” Mr Mdachi told The EastAfrican

He added: “Already, there are tourist charter planes from Israel landing in Kilimanjaro and Zanzibar. We believe that through the visa handling centre in Dar es Salaam, the number of tourists from Tel Aviv will increase.”

The number of Israeli tourists visiting Tanzania rose to 14,754 in 2015, from 3,007 in 2011, according to data from the tourism board.

Israeli ambassador Mr Vilan said Tanzania is among African countries that Israel has been looking to for business and diplomatic co-operation.

The managing director of Menelik Safari company of Israel, Ronit Hershkovitz said the Israeli airline, El Al, was looking to launch special tourist flights to Tanzania.

She said the Tel-Aviv-KIA direct flights would open doors for Tanzania to start receiving more tourists from Israel.

Meanwhile, President John Magufuli has expressed his intention to open an embassy in Tel Aviv in a letter addressed to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during his official visit to Uganda in July last year.

The letter was sent to Mr Netanyahu through Tanzanian Minister for Foreign Affairs Dr Augustine Mahiga. The embassy will make it easier to process visas and help to boost trade between the two nations.

Advertisement