Tanzania is reviewing its Tourism Policy to include conference and meeting tourism to complement the wildlife, cultural and beach tourism products.
Tanzania Tourist Board (TTB) is hoping to attract international conferences to Tanzania, especially to hotels in Dar es Salaam and Arusha.
The Ministry of Tourism is also looking to establish a Tanzania National Convention Bureau to oversee the development.
“Our target is to build meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (Mice) tourism for large groups,” TTB managing director Devota Mdachi told The EastAfrican.
“We want to invest more in conference tourism to get a share from the $300 billion generated annually from global conference tourism,” she said.
The Bureau will oversee Mice-related activities in the hope of competing with Rwanda and South Africa which have been rated the leading African hosts of meetings.
The Arusha International Conference Centre (AICC) and the Julius Nyerere International Convention Centre in Dar es Salaam have the capacity to host several meetings at the same time.
The AICC has 10 meeting rooms that can handle about 2,500 delegates per sitting.
It hosts some 100 meetings each year. These are mostly local congregations organised by the Tanzania government. On average, this translates to 11,000 delegates annually.
A review of the existing 1999 Tourism Policy is in progress after the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism has held several meetings with tourist stakeholders from Tanzania mainland and Zanzibar, seeking opinions on a new draft.
Bank of Tanzania’s economic review for November last year reported a rise in tourism earnings of 4.2 per cent in October to $2.1 billion compared with $2 billion in the corresponding period in 2016.