Mkapa Opens Serena Inn

By: Sunday News Reporter

Tanzania plans to inject more resources into the tourism industry to ensure effective competition against other countries in attracting tourists, President Benjamin Mkapa said yesterday.

Opening the Zanzibar Serena Inn in the island, President Mkapa said his government, with the participation of donors, will strive to inject more resources into tourism supportive services, infrastructures and advertising.

"We plan to do so in the belief that even as the tourism sector is usually a private sector affair to succeed, it requires public sector infrastructural support, including good airports, transport and communication networks," said the President.

He told the Shia Ismaili spiritual leader, His Highness Prince Karim Aga Khan, that Tanzania was also reviewing the tax profile of the industry to make the country a "truly competitive destination for private investment, especially foreign direct investment."

President Mkapa commended the Aga Khan for his keen interest in developing the tourism sector in the country, adding that his investment in the field promoted quality tourism.

Mr. Mkapa further said that Tanzania was committed to promoting tourism which was environmentally friendly, saying the country will strive to foster economic integrity of the industry without endangering the social and physical fabric of the society.

He told Prince Aga Khan that tourism was the single largest foreign exchange earner, providing about 30,000 jobs, adding that the number of tourists has remarkably increased.

"The number has jumped from 64,000 in 1984 to 326,194 last year and revenues from the sector have shot up from 9.4 million US dollars (4.5 bn. Sh) in 1984 to 322 million US dollars (193.2bn.Sh) last year.

"Our target, which we consider quite achievable, is to receive 500,000 tourists by the year 2000, earn 585 million US dollars (351 bn. Sh) a year and create 45,000 jobs, the president said.

He told the Aga Khan that with partners like Serena Inn, with the wide array of tourist attractions and with correct government policies, Tanzania could certainly be competitive. The President further said that the inauguration of the 7 million US dollars (4.2 bn. Sh) Serena Inn project was indicative of the political stability in the Isles, contrary to how it was being projected by others.

The Aga Khan is in the country for an official visit. He arrived in the country on Thursday.

Source: Sunday Times, (Tanzania)
March 16, 1997

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