DODOMA: PRESIDENT Samia Suluhu Hassan has won accolades from religious leaders for her landmark speech during the opening of the 23rd World Travel and Tourism Council Global Summit in Kigali, Rwanda.
The clerics issued the tributes yesterday in Dodoma after a brief meeting that brought together leaders from different religions under the National Committee of Bishops and Sheikhs on Ethics, Peace and Human Rights.
In their statement issued by Chairman of the Committee, Bishop William Mwamalanga, they praised President Samia for the well-articulated speech, saying that it has put Tanzania’s name and the African continent high, adding that it will help increase the number of tourists in the country.
Bishop Mwamalanga who doubles as the Head of Pentecostal Church in the country noted that the speech spread education and knowledge to many regarding tourism and travel in the world.
“We urge all clerics to stand with President Samia in her great efforts to open up the country. She is a leader and a teacher. We communicated with Sheikh Ramadhani Saed who attended the Kigali meeting from the United Kingdom and was so moved by President Samia’s speech, and called upon Tanzanians to support her,” said Bishop Mwamalanga.
President Samia noted that it is a fact that Africa is endowed with rich and abundant natural and cultural touristic attractions, giving an example of Tanzania that has 21 national parks, including the Serengeti and the Ngorongoro Crater, more than 40 game controlled and game reserved areas, more than 400 forestry
reserves and over 120 tribes with diverse cultures.
“Above all, we have the beautiful Zanzibar Islands. This is just one country out of 54 countries of Africa. We have heard about Burundi and Rwanda, and we will soon hear from President (Paul) Kagame about what Rwanda has to offer,” she said.
Tourism contributes considerably in most African economies. In Tanzania for example, tourism sector contributes up to 17.2 per cent of Tanzania’s GDP and 25 per cent of the country’s total export earnings.
While this is a massive contribution from one single source, it entails that Africa can leverage tourism to drive economic growth and create employment opportunities. Thus, the sector if well utilised, can be of great use to most African countries in terms of repositioning the
continent in other connecting sectors, henceforth attracting more foreign currencies.
In order for the tourism industry to make expected and required strides, she noted,
there are however some serious questions for African governments to ask themselves and some considerations to undertake.
She acknowledged the role of the private sector in the tourism eco-system, saying that Tanzania believes that a coordinated private sector is an engine to economic growth and that it is important to note that the private sector has a big role to play, adding that collaboration between government, private sector and non-profit organisations cannot be overemphasised