SATURDAY November 27, 2021
By Joe Lihundi
The Tranquility News Reporter, Tanzania
The East African Community has launched over $250,000 worth Regional and Domestic Tourism Media Campaign dubbed Tembea Nyumbani in the economic bloc’s fresh bid to stimulate intra-regional tourism and travel.
The three-week campaign, which is part of the EAC Tourism Recovery Plan, will kick off on Wednesday December 1, 2021.
The German Cooperation is supporting the campaign through the Dutsche Gesellschaft fur Internationale Zusammenarbeit popularly known by its GIZ acronym.
GIZ has since 1998 been supporting the EAC in achieving the bloc’s market-driven and people-centred integration agenda by strengthening sustainable socio-economic development of the region through building partnership, digital innovation, skills development, facilitation and expertise.
The Tembea Nyumbani organisers believe the campaign will raise the bloc’s tourist arrivals from barely 3 million at the moment to about 3.5 million towards the end of this year and 4 million by end of next year.
The EAC Council of Ministers approval of preferential rates for national parks’ fees to $5 per person, down from $50 each, encouraged intra-tourism, as all East Africans were now charged as locals, they say.
The EAC Secretary General, Dr Peter Mathuki, launched the campaign before media practitioners from across the region as well as EAC and GIZ staff who observed the event both physically and virtually.
The EAC Principal Tourism Officer, Mr Simon Kiraie, said the campaign would boost consumption of tourism packages and accommodation during the festive season.
The objective of the campaign is to capitalise on the festive season to create awareness on both regional and domestic tourism and the value chain.
It also seeks to initiate and facilitate conversation about the value of tourism among East Africans and policy makers and to identify tourism ambassadors who will travel to promote domestic and regional tourism through social media platforms.
The campaign will blend all aspects of media communication such as television, radio, newspaper and social media platforms to achieve its objectives.
The EAC Director of Productive Sectors, Mr Jean Baptiste Havugimana, said two consultants, namely Androit International and Quantum Dynamics, had been tasked to develop content and create synergies and consistency to avoid overlapping and conflicting messages during the campaign.
Androit and Quantum are currently liaising with national tourism boards to finalise the content and identify the campaign influencers in each partner state.
According to Dr Mathuki, Tourism and Travel was one of the region’s strategic sectors that had been badly affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The sector contributed 10 per cent to the GDP, 17 per cent to exports and 10 per cent to jobs in the region.
“Arrivals dropped from 7 million to 3 million tourists resulting into loss of about 92 per cent of the receipts generated before the outbreak of the pandemic,” Dr Mathuki said.
Dr Mathuki called on all EAC partner states, mainstream media outlets and social media platforms to disseminate messages of the campaign to reach every citizen of the region.
“It is a collective responsibility for all of us, including the media, to tell the world that we have a myriad of attractions,” Dr Mathuki said.
The bloc has developed an EAC e-pass comprising Covid-19 pandemic and all other information for vaccinated East Africans to smoothly move across the region.