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Country Highlights

Tanzania & its Tourism: Impact of COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on Tanzania’s economy, particularly on the tourism industry, which plays a significant role in the country’s economic landscape. The pandemic has underscored the vulnerability of Tanzania’s tourism sector, which has traditionally been heavily reliant on international visitors. This crisis has prompted a reevaluation of strategies to diversify and strengthen the tourism industry by focusing on boosting domestic and regional tourism through targeted marketing campaigns and fostering partnerships with African carriers and operators.

To capitalize on domestic and regional tourism opportunities, there is a need to develop supporting infrastructure such as hotels, resorts, and recreational facilities that cater to the preferences of local and regional travelers. Additionally, the pandemic has created an opportunity to reorient Tanzania’s tourism sector towards more sustainable and eco-friendly practices, aligning with global trends towards responsible tourism.

Tourism contributes over 25% to Tanzania’s GDP and employs approximately 1 million people. The closure of borders and imposition of travel restrictions during the pandemic resulted in a sharp decline in international tourist arrivals, with a staggering drop of over 60% in 2020. This decline significantly impacted popular tourist destinations like Zanzibar, Arusha, and Serengeti, which heavily rely on foreign visitors for revenue generation.

The repercussions of reduced tourism activity extended beyond the hospitality sector to related industries such as transportation and food services. Many businesses experienced substantial revenue declines ranging from 80% to 90% in 2020, leading to significant job losses throughout the tourism value chain. It was estimated that around 500,000 jobs were at risk due to the downturn in the tourism sector.

In response to the crisis, the government implemented some tax reliefs and regulatory adjustments to support the struggling tourism industry. Despite these measures, the sector is still in the process of recovering to pre-pandemic levels. It is anticipated that tourist arrivals and revenues may only return to levels seen in 2018-2019 by 2023 as the industry gradually rebuilds consumer confidence and adapts to evolving travel trends in a post-pandemic world.

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Featured Reports

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