More than 100 exhibitors from 13 African countries have convened in Tanzania today for an annual event dubbed the Swahili International Tourism Expo (S!TE).
The Expo is Tanzania’s leading international indoor tourism event, innovated and hosted by the Tanzania Tourist Board (TTB). The Expo will run from October 13th to October 15th at Tanzania’s Julius Nyerere International Conference Center (JNICC) in Dar-es-Salaam.
This year’s edition of the affair, which was officiated by Vice President of Tanzania, Samia Suluhu Hassan, comes at a time when Tanzania’s horticulture sector is likely to unseat tourism as the country’s fastest growing industry.
Tanzania’s horticulture industry is reported to be growing at the rate of 11% per annum, generating an average $640 million a year.
“Horticulture is soon going to be the country’s leading foreign income earner,” said Geoffrey Simbeye, Executive Director of the Tanzania Private Sector Foundation (TPSF).
The Expo hopes to help drive up revenue for Tanzania’s tourism sector by focusing on inbound and outbound travel business to and within Africa.
In 2016, travel and tourism accounted for 17.5% of Tanzania’s gross domestic product (GDP). The sector employed 11% of the country’s labor force, providing an estimated 1.2 million jobs.
Tanzania is known for its national parks, rich wildlife and attractive coastline. The country has more than doubled its tourist arrivals over the past decade from roughly 500,000 visitors a year in 2008 to more than 1 million arrivals in 2016.
African countries, including Rwanda, Ghana and Kenya, have sent representatives to attend the Expo in order to capitalize on the event while showcasing their own tourist attractions.
“This expo is going to elevate Tanzania tourism products to the world,” said Ruth Nartey, Operations Manager at Homeland Exploration Tours Limited, a Ghana-based travel company.