Tanzania goes digital to woo Chinese tourists

Tuesday January 14 2020

New Year’s day celebrations at a beach in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

New Year’s day celebrations at a beach in Dar es Salaam. Tanzania is creating an online tourism platform. PHOTO | AFP 

PATTY MAGUBIRA
By PATTY MAGUBIRA
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Tanzania is going digital in its quest to attract more Chinese tourists to the country.

Addressing tourism players and investors in Arusha this past week, Tanzania’s ambassador to China Mbelwa Kairuki said the country should meet Chinese tourists on their own turf, which is online.

Mr Kairuki said the embassy is creating an online booking platform specifically for promoting Tanzania’s tourism services in China, which will host a reservation and booking app, Chinese social media apps and offer marketing and advertising space. Tourism investors will be expected to pay for the platform for at least six months.

China is more technologically advanced than Tanzania, although the government has banned WhatsApp, Facebook and Twitter and developed its own unique platforms such as WeChat, Weibo and QQ. WeChat, which is synced with financial and translation services, is China’s top social media platform.

Tanzanian companies will therefore be expected to have WeChat QR codes on the website.

“A WeChat account will make it easy for communication with Chinese customers,” Mr Kairuki said. “The embassy is liaising with different players to create the platform,” the envoy said, adding that the Tanzania embassy in China was already creating a website using 5G technology. It is hosted in China specifically for promoting Tanzania’s tourist attractions to Chinese tourists. All tourism players in Tanzania are expected to market themselves through the website.

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“The embassy is, in addition, liaising with a marketing firm in Shanghai to promote the website on the Chinese social media platforms,” said Mr Kairuki, who is also accredited to Vietnam, Mongolia and the Democratic Republic of Korea.

“The embassy urges all players to participate in the three-day China Outbound Travel and Tourism Market beginning on April 1,” he said.

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