Tourism windfall as Royal Tour film series send the world to Dar

Visitors are cancelling bookings elsewhere in favour of Tanzania

FRIDAY June 24, 2022

Tanzania President Samia Suluhu Hassan addresses tourism players during one of the series of the launching ceremonies of the Tanzania: Royal Tour Film in the US, Tanzania Mainland and Zanzibar. Looking on is the Emmy Award-winning journalist Peter Greenberg, the producer and host of the groundbreaking series of television specials. PHOTO | COURTESY

By Adam Ihucha 

The Tranquility News Correspondent, Tanzania

The Tanzania Royal Tour film’s content, its strategic premiering and timing in the US market have started paying dividends in terms of commanding significant traffic of tourists.

Produced by Peter Greenberg, the maiden film featuring President Samia Suluhu Hassan, as his key guide—showcasing Tanzania’s rich cultural and wildlife heritage and an array of investment opportunities through her leadership eye, was launched in New York, the US, on April 18, 2022.

What makes the Tanzania Royal Tour series different from most tourism-related programing is that, aside from presenting an informal and personal side of a leader, it presents a 360-degree view of Tanzania, the home of number one Safari destination in the World, housing four of the most coveted adventure hotspots on earth: The Serengeti, Mount Kilimanjaro, Zanzibar, and Ngorongoro Crater, compounded by the kind hearted people of the East African country.

Two months after President Samia launched the film in the American market, a digital safari-marketing platform selling the East African region based in Copenhagen, Denmark, admits that it has recorded massive travel booking enquiries from the US, English-speaking and Scandinavian countries.

“For just two months, our subscribers have recorded a total 6,405 safari booking enquiries, all craving for the destination; up from merely 241 a month before the Tanzania Royal Tour film debut,” says the Managing Director of the East Africa Travel Deals, Mr Mikael Morlandee. “This is a clear signal that the series have a far-reaching impact on stimulating the tourism industry,” he adds.

Ms Stella Wood, the oldest member of a London taxi drivers’ outfit dubbed Cabbies Do Kilimanjaro (CDK), says Mount Kilimanjaro and Zanzibar have been in her to do list for quite a long time. The mother of two grown up children and a tour guide from South East London has been a taxi driver since 2001. PHOTO | FILE

Besides the new booking enquiries, Mr Morlandee says a substantial number of tourists, who had two years back confirmed their travel elsewhere on the African continent, are, as a result of the film, changing their minds in favour of Tanzania.

“Much as I can’t disclose details for business reasons, I can assure you that Tanzania is going to witness an unprecedented influx of tourists from the end of June. A substantial number of prior confirmed bookings are now cancelling massively in favour of the destination,” Mr Morlandee insisted.

Indeed, the key destination marketing executives in the US are upbeat that the Tanzania Royal Tour film is the right shot at the right moment, believing the eye opener for the majority of outdoor enthusiasts will spur the tourism industry more than ever before.

“Americans are extremely eager to get out into the world once again and Tanzania is uniquely positioned to offer them world-class nature and wildlife experiences that are authentically experiential in a way no other destination can offer,” says Mr David DiGregorio, the Managing Director of CornerSun Destination Marketing LLC based in New York City.

The Tanzania Association of Tour Operators (TATO) engaged Mr DiGregorio’s firm last year, thanks to the UNDP support for promoting Tanzania across the northern America as the home of the Great Migration, Kilimanjaro, the Serengeti and Zanzibar. No doubt the country is now and will continue being in high-demand, with American travelers eager to take their first long-haul post-COVID-19 adventure.

Mount Kilimanjaro

The Association of Black Travel Professionals CEO, Ms Shawnta Harrison, says, in turn, that the Tanzania Royal Tour film has moved the majority of African-American travellers planning their holiday elsewhere in Africa and the Caribbean.

“Now we’re working with TATO to see how we can develop a new tourism product to tap into the potential market,” says Ms Harrison. The product likely to be named “discover the ancestors’ roots” will pull them to Tanzania to explore their descendant’s culture, explains Ms Harrison, as she adds:

“I’m very grateful to have a fruitful meeting with the TATO delegation on the eve of the Tanzania Royal Tour film premiere here in America. We’re committed to, jointly with the umbrella association, redirect our traffic to the country.”

Back home, the tourism players are busy rolling out a red carpet, refurbishing tourist vans, and renovating hotels as part of grand preparations to welcome the imminent influx of tourists.

The immediate former Natural Resources and Tourism Ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Dr Francis Michael, who engaged key tourism players in the northern circuit in late May to ascertain their preparedness, says proprietors of accommodation facilities have assured him that the amenities were fully booked with effect from mid this month.

The Chief Executive Officer of the Tanzania Association of Tour Operators, Mr Sirili Akko, says Zanzibar and Tanzania Mainland’s tourism products complement each other. PHOTO | FILE

“The Tanzania Royal Tour film is an apt branding strategy that will go a long way in stimulating tourism and putting the country into a better position to achieve its five-million-visitor target by 2025,” the TATO CEO, Mr Sirili Akko, observes.

Mr Akko, who attended the premiere of the film in the US, says the choice of the debut country and the timing were not only extremely imperative, but will also play an important role in rebooting the tourism industry hobbled by brutal waves of Coronavirus.

The industry looks forward to continued government’s commitment to create a friendly environment for the private sector to play its role of driving Tanzania to reach the annual target of five million tourists within the timeframe, Mr Akko says.

During the premiere of the documentary, President Samia took the liberty to assure millions of potential tourists once again that Tanzania is the best place to spend their vacation. “We’re very friendly. You will never regret visiting,” she stressed.

President Samia, who visited the US for business and diplomatic intentions, used the launch of the Tanzania Royal Tour documentary to promote and improve the marketing of the country’s tourism to the world.

Tanzania President Samia Suluhu Hassan (Left) guides Royal Tour photojournalist Peter Greenberg during the filming of a documentary dubbed Tanzania: The Royal Tour. PHOTO | FILE

The Tanzania Royal Tour film is to be spread for viewing on multiple platforms in America, a strategic move to spread awareness and promote tourism digitally.

By the end of the presentation, it is likely that viewers’ interest in visiting the country will be higher than before they had watched it. Even Tanzania’s familiar aspects are enhanced, as everything is shown from the personal perspective of the country’s leader.

“The Tanzania Royal Tour film is part of the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) ambitious commitment through its election manifesto to spur the tourism industry for it to grow by leaps and bounds, create meaningful employment and leapfrog other economic sectors,” the CCM national youth wing Chief, Mr Kenan Kihongosi, adds.

Going by the CCM manifesto for the 2020 General Election, tourism will attract five million tourists, who will leave behind nearly $6.6 billion come 2025, with real multiplier effects reaching out to a critical mass of ordinary folks, particularly women and youth.

Indeed, holidays in Tanzania are a paradise, as the country is endowed with wealth of nature and diverse animal world.

The Chairman of the Tanzania Association of Tour Operators, Mr Wilbard Chambulo, says the tourism industry in the country welcomes the film with open hands. PHOTO | FILE

The TATO Chairman, Mr Wilbard Chambulo, who led the private sector’s high-profile delegation all the way to the US in support of President Samia in the film debut, commended the timing, saying the industry welcomes the film with open hands.

The TATO boss adds: “The film opens up endless opportunities, not only to our tourism value chain, but also to the entire economy, as it markets Tanzania investment destinations to the global scene.”

Holidaymakers quite often experience the “Big Five”, namely elephant, lion, leopard, buffalo and rhinoceros, up close in the Serengeti National Park, hike up Mount Kilimanjaro or relax on the beach of a tropical-island-like Arab-influenced Zanzibar.

“If you’re looking for variety, you’re guaranteed to find it in Tanzania. The imposing snow crown on Kilimanjaro dubbed the hiker’s paradise or the “roof of Africa”, for instance, attracts nature lovers from all over the world,” Mr Chambulo says.

A hike up Africa’s highest mountain is rightly on the bucket list of many nature and trekking lovers.The area around Mount Kilimanjaro is the ideal starting point for discovering Tanzania’s endless steppe landscapes and incredible wealth of wildlife.

Tourists explore streets of Stone Town in Zanzibar. PHOTO | FILE

The brilliant white beaches on the spice islands of Zanzibar promise all-round pampering and plenty of relaxation, explains Mr Chambulo, adding that tourists should go to Zanzibar, to experience the tropical beauty.

“It’s the bathing holidays that smell of pepper, cloves and vanilla, where the azure sea gently laps your feet and your senses learn to fly. The year-round warm, crystal-clear water and the white powder-sand beaches make Zanzibar the African dream destination to unwind,” Mr Chambulo says.

Dar es Salam, the gateway to southern Tanzania, is the bustling metropolis located on the country’s mainland coast, which is hardly developed for tourism.

“Not far from the city you will find secluded beaches with oriental flair. The island dream of Zanzibar is just a stone’s throw away and the national parks in the south of Tanzania can be easily explored from here”, the TATO chief concluded.

Many Americans associate Tanzania with safaris and, perhaps, Mount Kilimanjaro, but the first half of The Tanzania Royal Tour film explores parts of Tanzania that expand viewers’ understanding of the countryΩ

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