The African Tourist Board (ATB) on Saturday honoured Samia Suluhu Hassan - The President of the United Republic of Tanzania with the Continental Tourism Award for her tireless contribution to the country’s tourism sector.
The continental body feted President Samia with the coveted award, noting that they were impressed by an unwavering commitment to the promotion of tourism in Tanzania.
“She stood firm as the sector resiliently makes a comeback amidst the Covid-19 Pandemic,” said Mr. Cuthbert Ncube, who is also the ATB Executive Chairman as he handed the Natural Resources Minister, Damas Ndumbaro, on the President’s behalf.
The continental tourism board lauded President Samia for her initiative to host the inaugural of East African Community (EAC) Regional Tourism Expo (EARTE).
ATB also singled out President Samia’s role in recording the Royal Tour documentary, which is meant to promote Tanzania internationally, as a gesture worth being emulated by other Heads of State on the continent.
“She is in fact the first female President to single-handedly promote Tanzania’s and EAC tourism,” added Mr. Ncube.
Some of the tourism ministers on the continent were also honored with various awards during the event, with Dr. Ndumbaro feted for his commitment to driving the tourism agenda in Tanzania and beyond.
“The Minister demonstrated a cutting edge initiative in making tourism a mainstay sector in Tanzania,” explained Mr. Ncube. Others who received the award include Memonatu Pratt from Sierra Leone, Kenya’s Najib Balala, and Moses Vilakazi from Eswatini.
Tanzania becomes the first country within EAC region to host EARTE, an opportunity described by Dr. Ndumbaro as a great honour to the country.
“We feel so much privileged to host such a high profile gathering that seeks to market the country’s tourist destinations,” he said. Dr. Ndumbaro equally thanked the EAC Secretariat for making such an event a reality, while also reserving praise to South Sudan for their participation in the expo.
The move also saw Dr. Ndumbaro honour the South Sudanese delegation in the event with a three-day fully paid package entry and access to the Ngorongoro Conservation Area (NCA).
Speaking before opening the expo, EAC Secretary General Peter Mathuki said the exhibition was a clear testimony that tourism was back to the region after a bout of Covid-19. Dr. Mathuki also hailed Tanzania for hosting the event that sought to promote tourism in the region.
The EAC boss further revealed that his office was hatching a plan of rolling out a special EAC Pass that will enable East Africans to traverse the region without any restrictions. “It will indicate that you’ve either been tested or vaccinated against the killer disease and therefore residents from the six partner states will freely move in the region,” he said.
Dr. Mathuki also revealed that the EAC remained true in implementing the regional recovery plan and capitalizing on the regional domestic tourism campaign.
The three-day expo, under the theme, ‘Promotion of Resilient Tourism for Inclusive Socio-economic Development’ will also be attended by national tourism boards, private sector and tourism industry players, representatives from other Regional Economics Communities (SADC, IGAD, COMESA), African Union, UN World Tourism Organisations, Development Partners and members of the Diplomatic Community in Tanzania. It aims at creating awareness of tourism investment opportunities amid the pandemic and promotes EAC as a single tourism destination.
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