By Gadiosa Lamtey
Durban — South Africa Tourism minister Derek Hanekom invited over 6,000 buyers and exhibitors – currently attending Africa’s Travel Indaba 2018 here – to visit Serengeti National Park in Tanzania and witness the most spectacular migration of animals on the planet.
Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park is known for its massive annual migration of wildebeest and zebra.
Seeking new pasture, the herds move north from their breeding grounds in the grassy southern plains into Kenya’s Maasai Mara.
Many cross the marshy western corridor’s crocodile-infested Grumeti River. Others veer northeast to the Lobo Hills, home to black eagles. Black rhinos inhabit the granite outcrops of the Moru Kopjes.
Mr Hanekom said apart from the Serengeti, Tanzania also offers the Ngorongoro Crater which has one of the largest concentrations of wild animals in the world.
“You do not need to end here in South Africa. Go up there so you can touch the sky and experience the migratory route of African elephants,” he said yesterday.
Mr Hanekom was giving his welcome note to delegates to Africa’s Travel Indaba 2018.
He said tourism already contributes about 8 per cent to Africa’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and employs 6.5 per cent of the workforce.
“Our plan is to double the percentage because African countries have many things to offer… we have a rich history and stories to tell,” said the minister
Tanzania is among 22 African countries represented in the event with more than seven companies. “Our strongest selling point that sets us apart from the rest of the world is probably our abundant wildlife… so, you should visit Tanzania to see the beauty,” he said.
This year’s event attracted more than 6,000 representatives from 80 countries around the world converging in Durban for three-days from May 7 to 10 purposely to discuss various issues relating to tourism in Africa and exploiting available opportunities.
He said: “We want our visitors to always become our brand ambassadors when they return home with a deeper understanding of Africa’s stories and spread the magic of our continent.”
He said: “We have experiences to offer such as sacred sites, natural wonders, beautiful landscapes, spectacular mountains, wide open deserts, and exquisite coastlines; of heritage and culture; of music and dance and astonishing artistic creativity.”
Visitors to Africa experience one of the most profound stories the world has witnessed: how the birthplace of civilization is catapulting itself into the future.
The Citizen reached the Managing Director for Tanzania Tourism Board (TTB) Devota Mdachi asking why her board did not attend the tourism exhibition.
“We attended the World Travel Market (WTM) function two weeks ago in Cape Town… that’s why we could not attend the Indaba,” she said.
She said tour operators from Tanzania were this year being attracted by WTM so the TTB supported them.