Tourism is an important part of Tanzania’s economy. Until now, it has been dominated by leisure travelers and wildlife watchers. Over a million visitors arrive every year, drawn by the natural wonders of the Serengeti and Mount Kilimanjaro and the tropical coasts of Zanzibar. Now, Tanzania looks to widen its appeal to business tourism as well.
The Tanzanian government is investing in infrastructure to support and encourage conference tourism. New conference centers in key cities and improvements to road and rail systems are part of the plan to attract businesses to hold their events in the country.
Some have pointed out that the current structure for business visas is another thing that must be updated to make Tanzania the ideal African destination for business tourism.
MICE Tourism in Tanzania
The Tanzania Tourist Board (TTB) is aiming to boost the country’s appeal in terms of meetings, incentives, conferences, and exhibitions (MICE) tourism.
MICE tourism generates $300 billion every year around the world. The TTB aims to increase Tanzania’s share and standing in this market.
Key locations such as Dar es Salaam and Arusha have been targeted for investment in:
- Conference facilities
- Road and rail infrastructure
- Promotion of these locations as ideal for international MICE events
Business tourists traveling to Tanzania to attend MICE events need to book hotels and spend money on other goods and services. By doing so Tanzania brings money into the economy.
With further development in Tanzania of conference facilities close to other attractions for tourists, the TTB hopes that more visitors will combine business and leisure in their trips to the country.
Conference Facilities in Tanzania
Tanzania already has a number of venues capable of hosting MICE events, including 2 notable large conference centers:
- Julius Nyerere International Convention Centre (Dar es Salaam)
- The Arusha International Conference Centre (AICC) (Arusha)
The Arusha International Conference Centre (AICC), for example, has a number of meeting rooms ranging from small break-out rooms with a capacity of 10 to the main auditorium, capable of holding up to 1,350. The AICC:
- Hosts around 100 business event annually
- Can hold over 2,500 attendees in total
- Receives 11,000 conference delegates a year on average
Its location in the north of Tanzania, close to both Kilimanjaro and the Serengeti National Park is a huge plus for business tourists who want to experience the country’s beauty during their visit.
How Does the Tanzania Business Visa Affect Conference Tourism
There are a number of different types of visa for Tanzania. They can be obtained online as a Tanzanian eVisa. Visitors traveling to the state for business, including MICE, must apply for a Tanzania business visa. The business visa currently costs more than a standard single-entry tourist visa.
This may be set to change, with industry insiders pointing out that neighboring countries such as Kenya charge the same for both tourist and business visas. Currently, more international MICE events are held in Rwanda, Kenya, Ethiopia, and South Africa. This may be due to the relatively high price Tanzania charges for a business visa.
That is the reason why it is thought that the government may consider lowering the price as part of its scheme to attract more corporate visitors. However, there has been no confirmation of this so far from an official source.
Why Have Meetings and Conferences in Tanzania?
Tanzania is already investing in MICE facilities and already has major conference centers in the commercial capital of Dar Es Salaam and the northern city of Arusha. Besides the centers themselves, conference planners and attendees may wish to explore the country around them and see the imposing sights.
Sightseeing in Tanzania
Tanzania is a country filled with natural beauty and some of the most significant landmarks in Africa.
It also benefits from hot, sunny weather and boasts picture-perfect beaches on the coast of the Indian Ocean, both on the mainland and the islands of the Zanzibar archipelago.
Business tourists can take advantage of any free time they have during their stay to explore and see the following:
- Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest point in Africa
- Lake Tanganyika, the longest and deepest lake in Africa (its depth is the lowest point on the continent)
- Lake Victoria, the largest lake in Africa
- National Parks of Tanzania — around 38% of the country’s land is protected for conservation, including the Ngorongoro Conservation Area and the world-famous Serengeti National Park.
- Zanzibar — these tropical islands off the coast of Tanzania have a distinct culture, beautiful beaches, and crystal-clear waters. Learn the critical details you must know before visiting Zanzibar.
With so much to see and do, international business people who are drawn to Tanzania for conferences and work-related events can take advantage of their visit to experience the best that the country has to offer.