DAR ES SALAAM (The Southern African Times) – Tanzania will host the first East African Regional Tourism Expo (EARTE) 2021, in October.
The tourism expo will be held in the northern tourist circuit of Arusha from October 9, to October 16, according to the statement from EAC headquarters.
EARTE 2021, which is the first of its kind to be held in the region, is aimed at promoting tourism attractions available in Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and South Sudan.
Tanzania becomes the first country to host the EAC regional tourism expo, with the first three days devoted to exhibition and four days to conduct familiarization trips and tours to major attraction sites Mainland and Zanzibar.
The expo will be held on a rotational basis among the EAC member states, with this year’s theme titled, ‘promoting resilient tourism for inclusive socio-economic development’.
In July, EAC ministers for wildlife and tourism approved the EAC Tourism Marketing Strategy for the 2021-2025 period.
The strategy focuses on the establishment of the tourism exposition as a forum bringing state and non-state tourism actors to showcase the rich and diverse tourism attractions and investment opportunities in the region.
Moreover, the event is also a platform for business to business (B2B) engagements and dialogue aimed at the recovery of the tourism and wildlife sectors, taking them to next level for sustainable development.
According to the EAC Secretary General, Dr, Peter Mathuki, the EAC region lost close to 70 percent of international tourist arrivals in 2020 coupled with massive losses in tourism earnings and tourism related jobs.
“Similarly, wildlife conservation in the region suffered a major blow from the pandemic through loss of conservation revenue most of which is generated through tourists visiting the protected areas and wildlife conservancies across the region,” says Dr Mathuki in a statement.
Tourism sector is one of the most important areas of cooperation for EAC owing to its contribution to the economies of partner states in terms of GDP (about 10 percent), export earnings (17 percent) and jobs (about 7 percent)
“Its multiplier effect and the links with other sectors that are instrumental to our integration such as agriculture, transport and manufacturing are quite immense,” notes Mathuki.
Article 115 of the EAC Treaty provides for cooperation in the tourism sector whereby partner states undertake to develop a collective and coordinated approach to the promotion and marketing of quality tourism within and within the community.
The travel and tourism sector, globally, was affected by the COVID-19 pandemic more than any other economic sector.
Tanzania offered to hold the tourism expo in Arusha after Burundi stated that it was not ready to host the regional tourism expo for 2021.
According to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) report published on June 30, the crash in international tourism due to the coronavirus pandemic could cause a loss of more than $4 trillion to the global GDP for the years 2020 and 2021.