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Tanzania promotes heritage, beauty to attract Chinese tourists

Updated: 2024-05-23 07:42 ( CHINA DAILY )
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Tanzanian artists perform at the opening of the China-Tanzania Culture and Tourism Year in Beijing on May 15. CHINA DAILY

A gala featuring traditional Tanzanian music, dancing and acrobatics, along with a tourism documentary, impressed an audience that packed the China National Opera House in Beijing on May 15.

The gala opened the 2024 China-Tanzania Culture and Tourism Year, and celebrated the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the countries.

Sun Yeli, China's minister of culture and tourism, Angellah Kairuki, Tanzania's minister of natural resources and tourism, and Khamis Omar, Tanzanian ambassador to China, attended the opening ceremony and delivered speeches.

"These have been six wonderful decades, strengthening the bonds between the two friendly countries," Omar said at the event.

In 2022, President Xi Jinping and Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu Hassan — in China for a state visit — jointly announced the upgrading of the countries' ties to a comprehensive strategic partnership to boost all-around cooperation and set an example for China-Africa relations in the new era.

"They also decided that with the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations, 2024 is the year of culture and tourism between China and Tanzania," Omar says.

In addition to the singing and dancing that highlighted distinctive Tanzanian culture and history, as well as friendly exchanges between the two countries, the premiere of the 25-minute documentary, Amazing Tanzania, gave the audience an insight into the beauty of the East African country known for its vast natural and cultural heritage, aiming to promote Tanzanian tourism resources to Chinese audiences.

Under the guidance of Tanzanian President Hassan and Zanzibar President Hussein Mwinyi, renowned Chinese actor Jin Dong embarked on a captivating journey exploring the diverse attractions of Tanzania, including the pristine Zanzibar Island, Africa's highest mountain Kilimanjaro and the thriving wildlife of Serengeti National Park.

"I would like to invite Chinese tourists to Tanzania, so they can experience the rich and diverse landscapes in Tanzania," Kairuki says.

In addition to natural wonders, she says Chinese visitors will be in for a treat from the friendliness of Tanzanian people and the fascinating culture.

Joseph Barnabas Munanka started his tourism business two years ago and has received hundreds of Chinese travelers to Tanzania.

"They love the culture, nature and animals there," he says.

He was exporting Chinese goods to Tanzania and many of his Chinese customers started to inquire about traveling to Tanzania.

"That was when I sensed the opportunities," he says.

He expects the number of his customers to double and even triple this year, driven by the bilateral culture and tourism year.

Before the opening ceremony, Kairuki led a delegation to the Beijing-based China CYTS Tours and talked to Xu Xi, a senior official with the tour company.

Both sides had in-depth discussions on further deepening cultural and tourism cooperation between China and Tanzania.

Xu says Tanzania's rich tourism resources and friendship with China have made it a popular destination among Chinese travelers.

He stresses that tourism, as an important means of public diplomacy, plays a significant role in international communication and cultural exchange. He proposes that cooperation in fields such as smart tourism with Tanzania should be strengthened and efforts be stepped up to develop Tanzanian cultural and tourism products for more consumers.

Kairuki says that the Chinese market is vast, and the Tanzanian side is looking forward to strengthening cooperation with China's tourism enterprises.

She expects more cooperation with CYTS in areas such as exhibition services, hotel investment, comprehensive tourism services, product design and entertainment.

Last year, Tanzanian authorities announced that they had identified China as one of the country's new strategic tourism markets.

With the newly identified markets, Tanzania is likely to meet its target of attracting 5 million international tourists by 2025, according to Thereza Mugobi, director of tourism at the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism.

According to Kairuki, the Tanzanian government is taking measures aimed at promoting Tanzania's tourism industry on the global map.

The tourism industry in Tanzania contributes 25 percent of foreign exchange earnings and 17.5 percent of gross domestic product, according to her.

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