Why not explore the world instead of lying on the couch? This year, at ITB Berlin trade visitors and the general public can immerse themselves in the world of youth travel again. Tour operators, tourism associations and organisations will be gathered in Hall 4.1 where they will be showcasing their latest products and innovations in the Youth Travel & Economy Accommodation segment. Exhibitors will be presenting digital innovations such as VR goggles, information on new youth travel destination, events on festivals, and communicating with emojis. All these things will be just the ticket for their target audience, a new generation that is keen to travel.
At last, the ITB Berlin Youth Travel segment in Hall 4.1 has come of age, and in order to mark its eighteenth anniversary the youth tour operator ‘ruf Reisen’ has produced a special film. Inside the Language Zone, Europe’s market leader will also have information on language courses abroad and summer trips with a focus on ’sports and beach’, ’partying and beach’ and ’chilling and beach’ holidays. VR goggles will be available for visitors to enjoy sports on the beach with, and for chilling out afterwards in a special area.
In 2017 ‘Das Reisenetz – Deutscher Fachverband fur Jugendreisen’ will be occupying its largest combined stand to date in Hall 4.1. Schliersee and Arberland, two youth tour destinations of the future, will be exhibiting for the first time. These two regions will be represented as a pilot project of the travel network ‘Jugendreise-Qualitatssiegel fur Destinationen’ alongside Bayerischer Landes-Sportverband e.V. The South African Youth Travel Association (SAYTC), a new partner of the travel network, will have information on youth tours in South Africa. Together with several of its members, this is the first time the organisation will be represented at ITB Berlin. Numerous events organised by the travel network and featuring high-ranking figures from politics and business will have information for visitors on the latest developments in the youth tour market on the stage in Hall 4.1 and in the Youth Incoming Germany Lounge (YIG). On Thursday, 9 March 2017, a get-together of the youth tour sector will take place at the big ITB travel network party.
In Hall 4.1a, at numerous workshops, the World Youth Student and Educational Travel Confederation (WYSE) and other experts will be discussing millennials and Generation Z. They will present case studies and best digital marketing practices as well as strategies for youth destinations and working with bloggers.
On Wednesday, 8 March 2017, from 1 to 3 p.m., the first Youth Travel Startup Forum will have information on trends and developments in this growth segment. Among those taking part will be Andre Baumeister of FRAM – Science Travel, Mark van der Heijden of Wanderbrief, Frauke Schmidt of Unplanned, John Donnelly of Welcome Groups, and Sebastian Dopp of IT Jugendreisen.com.
On Thursday, 9 March 2017, from 1 to 2 p.m., visitors to the stage in the Youth Tour hall can also find out more about ’Sound Destinations: Music, Festivals and the Youth Visitor’. Moderator Nick Hall, founder and CEO of the Digital Tourism Think Tank, will be talking with Katja Hermes of Sound Diplomacy, Prof. Greg Richards of the WYSE Travel Confederation, and Matthieu Betton of Sojern, about the attraction that music and festivals exert on young people and how destinations can benefit. Colourful emojis have changed the way Generation Z communicates and also pose a challenge for tourism managers. Thus on Friday, 10 March 2017, from 11 a.m. to 12 noon, ’How to talk to Generation Z in five emojis or less’ will be the topic of a discussion round. Taking part will be Michael Potscher of Tour Radar, Emmanuelle Legault of Destination Canada, and Dom Carter of What Marketing Company, who will provide some interesting ideas and examples of best practices. The event will be moderated by Rhett Lego of The Conjoint Marketing Group.
School trips are fun. However, when travelling, knowledge of safety and legal aspects is needed. This where Germany’s first ’school trip licence’ should be of help. On Friday, 10 March 2017, over four sessions and in cooperation with Hochschule Bremen, A&O Hostels & Hotels and Welcome Berlin Tours will have information on topics including school trip guidelines, safety, sports trips and learning in different locations on school trips. On Saturday, 11 March 2017, on the big stage in Hall 4.1, ’school trip licence’ certificates will be presented for the first time.
Noting the obstacles that persons with disabilities or those with other access requirements face in taking advantage of fundamental aspects of travel, senior United Nations officials today urged policy-makers, travel planners and companies that work with persons with disabilities to work together to make travel more accessible.
“Everyone has the right to access leisure and tourism services on an equal basis,” said Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in his message on World Tourism Day. He added, however: “Even with modern technologies, those with visual, hearing, mobility or cognitive impairments are being left behind in many tourism destinations.”
According to the message, while almost 1.2 billion people are travelling aboard each year, close to one billion persons with disability, along with young children, older persons and persons with other access requirements, still face obstacles in accessing the most basic travel needs such as clear and reliable information, efficient transportation and public services, and a physical environment that is easy to navigate.
“Tourism has become a powerful economic sector, a passport to prosperity and peace, and a transformative force improving millions of lives,” noted Mr. Ban, underlining that benefits of accessible tourism will not only provide an important market opportunity, it will help ensure that all people are able to participate in tourism and enjoy unforgettable travel experiences.
The theme for this year’s World Tourism Day is Tourism for All – Promoting Universal Accessibility.
In a separate message, Taleb Rifai, the Secretary-General of the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), the specialized UN agency that works for the promotion of responsible, sustainable and universally accessible tourism, highlighted that travelling has become a major part in many lives and said that with the world’s population ageing, everyone sooner or later will benefit from universal accessibility in tourism.
“As we celebrate World Tourism Day, let us recall that all of the world’s citizens have the right to experience the incredible diversity this planet has to offer,” he said, urging all countries and destinations, as well as the tourism industry, to promote accessibility for all.
In September 2015, the UNWTO’s general assembly designated Thailand as host country for the 2016 World Tourism Day. As the host, the South-east Asian country will partner with the UN agency to celebrate the occasion.
In her own message, Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul, Minister of Tourism and Sports of Thailand, said that in addition to understanding the needs of everyone, considering the environment impact of tourism is equally important.
“As the world of travel and tourism is an expanding industry and the number of travellers increases every year, we have to ensure that travelling the world has to be safe and seamless at its utmost,” she said.
In 1979, the UNWTO General Assembly decided to institute the World Tourism Day to be commemorated every year on 27 September, the anniversary of the adoption of the UNWTO Statutes, to foster awareness among the international community of the importance of tourism and its social, cultural, political and economic value.
In simple words, the term Medical tourism means the act of traveling to another country in search of better, affordable and sustainable medical treatment. This can be either because the treatment in question is unavailable in the home country, is expensive or illegal. While conventionally this kind of travel was from the less developed to high developed nations for medical treatment, the trend has in recent past taken a new twist with people traveling from high to less developed countries for the same purpose. The former is however still common.
Medical tourism can take place between continents such as Europe and Asia, between states in a continent such as from one state of America to another, or between neighboring countries in one region such as from Tanzania to Kenya in East Africa. Medical tourism has been on a steady rise in recent years, with a report by VISA and Oxford Economics valuing the industry at a staggering US$439 billion dollar.
It’s growth rate is projected to 25% annually over a period of 10 years, with 3%-4% of the world’s population estimated to travel internationally for medical treatment. The report further projects the industry to stand at approximately US$3 trillion by 2025, numbers likely to be achieved due to factors such as reduced cost of cross-border health treatment combined with attractive destinations and lack of some approved or available medical procedures and treatments in home countries among others. Some of the medical treatments mostly sought after include cardiac surgery, kidney transplant, dental treatment, bone marrow replacement, fertility related procedures etc.
While VISA’s report, supported by the Medical Tourism Index (MTI) findings pass that the United States, Asia and Europe lead in medical tourism, it is also true that Africa is making great progress in claiming a bigger share of the multi-billion dollar industry. South Africa leads as a top medical travel destination in the continent, taking position 27 out of MTI’s top 41 destinations globally. Kenya is also experiencing an exponential growth, with the industry valued at approximately US$100 billion dollars. Other African countries highly recognized in the health travel industry include Rwanda, Tunisia and Morocco.
With approximately 11 million medical tourists traveling annually across the globe, the industry is also set to benefit more from technological advancements and globalization. The medical state in every aspect is also expected to better, Africa included, as every country strives to win the race of becoming a medical hub in order to provide proper and affordable healthcare to its citizens as well as to foreigners; cashing in on the foreign currency.
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National Child Protection Week kicked off on Friday May 27 and, also taking into account the looming winter holiday season, this enlightening report on the work of Plettenberg Bay-based social worker DR KAREN SPURRIER should not be ignored.
INCREASING tourism numbers in third world countries, like South Africa, affect their economies and certain aspects of their society positively; however, there are concomitant negative effects that expose the dark side of the tourism industry.
One of these is the escalating Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children in Travel and Tourism (CSECTT) – particularly child prostitution (CP) in the context of tourism, a phenomenon known as child sex tourism (CST).
Although tourism plays an important role in creating the perfect storm of poverty-stricken or drug-addicted children colliding with wealthy tourists, it is not solely responsible for this phenomenon.
A lack of research available in South Africa prompted Dr Karen Spurrier, a local social worker in private practice, to research this phenomenon on the Garden Route and in Cape Town.
Dr Spurrier researched the subject interviewing local social workers, psychologists, NGO and welfare staff, adult survivors of sexual exploitation by tourists, the police services, and the hospitality industry.
Dr Spurrier’s research showed that factors such as drug abuse, poverty, and family dysfunction pushed children of all races to the street, and as a means to survive they engage in sex work, enabling tourists (i.e. local – out of towners) and foreigners (mainly men, but also women of varied sexual orientation) to commercially sexually exploit both boys and girls, from as young as nine years of age, leaving them with physical and psychological scars.
The results of Dr Spurrier’s research have been confirmed by similar findings through research conducted by Fair Trade Tourism, in conjunction with world authority on child sex tourism, ECPAT (End Child Prostitution, Child Pornography and Child Trafficking).
Titled ‘The Global Study on Sexual Exploitation of Children in Travel and Tourism – Country Specific: South Africa 2015 Report’, it was launched in Stellenbosch on May 12.
According to this report, ECPAT International’s African network considers South Africa as one of the countries most affected by child exploitation in travel and tourism.
In Dr Spurrier’s study, the accounts and recollections of adult survivors in relation to their commercial sexual exploitation in childhood showed that:
• The adult survivors arrived on the street at a very young age, mostly due to poor circumstances at their homes.
• They were sexually assaulted, raped or exploited at between nine and 11 years of age – very shortly after their arrival on the street.
• Children of all races were commercially sexually exploited and the adult survivors specifically mentioned black, white, and coloured children.
• Both male and female children were commercially sexually exploited.
• The effects of the CSEC include feelings of depression, sadness, confusion, guilt, shame and embarrassment, along with feeling responsible for the exploitation.
• The adult survivors as children were paid between R50 and R1,500, with additional ‘gifts’ sometimes totalling more than R3,000.
• The adult survivors as children entered the sex ‘industry’ for various reasons, including poverty and a lack of other means to survive, which led to so-called ‘survival sex’, addiction to drugs and/or alcohol, the presence of naiveté and lack of knowledge that comes with the natural immaturity of young children.
Child sex tourists or exploiters can be anyone, but have been described by adult survivors and NGOs as mainly, but not only, white ‘executive type’ wealthy males, of varying sexual orientation.
The adult survivors described their exploiters as locals and foreigners, as well as long-stay visitors often described as ‘swallows’.
Local perpetrators were from areas other than those they perpetrated in, and foreigners were mentioned as being from the United Kingdom, the United States, Germany, France, Nigeria, and Somalia.
Nigerians were specifically mentioned as intermediaries and pimps. German men were singled out as ‘end users’ – those who had sex with the children – and sometimes acted as intermediaries.
The exploiters engaged sexually with the children at various localities including streets, both upmarket and low-end hotels, apartments and private homes.
Perpetrators used various substances such as drugs or alcohol when interacting with the children and often encouraged the children to do the same (i.e. utilise drugs or alcohol) either prior to or during sex.
They were sometimes violent or threatened violence towards the children they used for sexual encounters. Violence included being thrown out of a moving vehicle or being threatened with a firearm.
Generally perceived to be aged between 50 and 70, perpetrators sometimes required the children to perform unusual sexual acts, exposed children to pornography, or involved them in the production of pornography.
Significantly, perpetrators were more prolific during special events attracting tourists to cities or towns, with the Knysna Oyster Festival mentioned specifically.
Another area of concern that became apparent through the research results highlighted the emergence of ‘volun-tourism’, which refers to short-term volunteer experiences that travellers often combine with travel for work, study or leisure.
While volunteers are hugely beneficial to understaffed and underfunded local organisations, this is also seen as a loophole for exploiters.
The country-specific South African report by Fair Trade Tourism states: “The involvement of volun-tourists in activities that bring them into direct contact with children creates opportunities for preferential and situational offenders to gain access to potential victims. This is the case at schools, refugee or IDP camps, shelters, orphanages, etc.
“Interviews with travelling child sex offenders (TCSOs) noted that they often served as professionals (e.g. teachers) or volunteers to facilitate their abuse of the children in their care – a finding consistent with other, larger-scale studies.”
“All volunteers and staff that work with children should be police checked as a matter of course and if they hail from outside South Africa, an Interpol check should be done,” says Dr Spurrier.
She urges guesthouses, hotels, B&Bs and other accommodation establishments as well as restaurants to be on the lookout for suspicious behaviour, to report their suspicions and to keep a copy of their reports for follow-up purposes.
“The onus is on these establishments to report any behaviour deemed suspicious to the authorities, or to risk being complicit in the abuse,” Dr Spurrier cautions.
“Often when guests book in without prior arrangements and want to pay cash, one should be on the alert. Sometimes they leave their ‘daughter’ or ‘son’ in the car while they check in late at night. This is cause for suspicion and should not be ignored.
“Don’t look away – report what you see!”
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New categories for 2016 include the ‘Best responsible tourism campaign’ which aims to celebrate the most successful marketing or advocacy campaigns in encouraging and promoting a more responsible style of travel.
Tourism businesses, organisations and initiatives around the world are now being invited to submit an entry into the World Responsible Tourism Awards 2016 at WTM London, as the world celebrates 20 years of responsible tourism action.
The global search for the world’s most enduring and inspirational examples of responsible tourism in action kicks off today with entries being accepted into five categories spanning issues across the tourism industry.
The announcement of the 2016 winners, at World Travel Market London, will this year be part of the celebrations marking 10 years of World Responsible Tourism Day – the largest event for responsible tourism action globally. Furthermore, this year marks 20 years of the global responsible tourism movement, with the South African government publishing a tourism white paper in 1996 putting responsibility at the centre of its strategy.
New categories for 2016 include the ‘Best responsible tourism campaign’ which aims to celebrate the most successful marketing or advocacy campaigns in encouraging and promoting a more responsible style of travel.
Justin Francis, founder of the Awards and managing director of organisers Responsible Travel comments “I am truly excited by what we will discover through the World Responsible Tourism Awards this year.
The organisations, initiatives and businesses we uncover each year have the power to shape the future of tourism, to be catalysts for change in an industry which will have a huge impact on global climate and development.
”I want to encourage any tourism business or organisation around the world, big or small, to submit an entry. We want to hear your story”.
The importance of the Awards in assessing how far responsible tourism has developed, and how much it been achieved in the last 10 years is not lost on chair of the judging panel, Professor Harold Goodwin of the Responsible Tourism Partnership and the International Centre for Responsible Tourism. “Through the Awards winners every year we see the standard of what is being achieved by people taking responsibility for tourism getting higher and higher” he says “And every year we see more and more countries represented in our entries.
“Tourism, if sold, enjoyed and organised responsibly is of global importance, something that has been recognised in the new Sustainable Development Goals, and our winners this year will set the standard to which all tourism businesses should aspire”.
Awards Judge Simon Press, senior exhibition director for World Travel Market London, hosts of World Responsible Tourism Day says “The World Responsible Tourism Awards at WTM London are a central pillar of the success of World Responsible Tourism Day.
“The awards winners and shortlisted companies act as a benchmark and inspiration for what the global travel and tourism industry can achieve in responsible tourism practice.”
The 2016 categories:
- Best accommodation for responsible employment
- Best contribution to wildlife conservation – sponsored by Florida Keys and Key West Tourist Development Council
- Best innovation by a tour operator
- Best for poverty reduction and inclusion – sponsored by the Tobago House of Assembly
- Best responsible tourism campaign
WTM London’s World Responsible Tourism Day takes place on Tuesday 8 November.
PATA CEO Mario Hardy has praised the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) for its continuing commitment to responsible travel and sustainable tourism. Speaking at a media briefing during the PATA Adventure Travel and Responsible Tourism Conference and Mart (ATRTCM) 2016 in Chiang Rai, Mario Hardy also thanked Governor Yuthasak Supasorn for the TAT’s generous sponsorship and support of the event attended by 278 delegates from 34 destinations.
Mr. Yuthasak Supasorn, TAT Governor said, “TAT recognises this niche event as an ideal platform to reiterate Thailand’s long-term commitment to promoting responsible tourism, especially to the who’s who of the industry. The event has attracted 278 delegates and top travel executives who promote adventure and sustainable travel options in destinations around the world. They are here to discuss new opportunities for promoting environmental protection and social sustainability and we have taken this chance to highlight how Thailand upholds the principles of responsible tourism that will also create sustainability at all levels of society.”
The PATA Adventure Travel and Responsible Tourism Conference on Thursday February 18, with the theme ‘Creating Experiences, Sharing Opportunities’, featured 20 speakers from 10 countries. Topics discussed were: ‘Increasing our Adventure Tourism Competitiveness’; ‘Creating Experiences that Challenge, Delight and Inspire’; ‘Best Practices in Responsible Tourism from the ASEAN Region’; The Inbound Marketing Playbook; ‘The New Adventure Market: Understanding the Indian and Chinese Adventure Traveller’, and ‘Crossroads: Adventure and Responsible Travel off the Beaten Path’.
The Mart was opened officially on February 19 by Khun Yuthasak Supasorn, Governor – Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) and Mario Hardy, CEO – Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) in the presence of Khun Juthaporn Rerngronasa, Deputy Governor for International Marketing, TAT, Khun Sugree Sithivanich – Deputy Governor for Marketing Communications, TAT, Jon Nathan Denight, General Manager – Guam Visitors Bureau, and Andrew Jones, Vice Chairman – PATA (see pic).
Delegates connected with travel bloggers at a new-style ‘Bloggers’ Lounge’. Eleven bloggers, pre-screened by the Professional Travel Bloggers Association (PBTA), were present at the event. The influence of the travel bloggers in attendance provided an added dimension to the event with the hashtag ‘ATRTCM2016’ generating nearly one million social media impressions during the three-day event.
The PATA ATRTCM 2016 concluded with a dinner to promote next year’s event in Luoyang, China. Vice Mayor of Luoyang Municipal People’s Government Mr. Wei Xian Feng extended an invitation to all delegates to visit the cradle of Chinese civilisation in 2017. The dinner was hosted by the Luoyang Tourism Development Commission.
ATRTCM 2016, generously hosted by the Tourism Authority of Thailand, attracted 278 delegates from 34 destinations. Delegates for the event included 44 sellers from 28 organisations in 10 destinations and 32 buyers from 32 organisations in 20 source markets.
Pictured: Khun Juthaporn Rerngronasa, Deputy Governor for International Marketing, TAT; Jon Nathan Denight, General Manager – Guam Visitors Bureau; Mario Hardy, CEO – Pacific Asia Travel Association; Andrew Jones, Vice Chairman – PATA; Khun Yuthasak Supasorn, Governor – TAT, and Khun Sugree Sithivanich – Deputy Governor for Marketing Communications, TAT.
Canada will tighten its rules on entering the country next month, adding a layer of security that will impact Europeans and others previously allowed to visit without a travel visa.
Formerly visa-exempt foreign nationals, including those passing through on a stopover, will have to fill out an online Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) in advance and pay a small administrative fee (Can$7), starting March 15.
The measure is similar to one set up by the United States in 2008, and will affect people from more than 50 countries.
Americans will be exempt. Anyone caught unaware of the new regulations can expect some leniency in the beginning, said Robert Orr, deputy minister for immigration.
He said the new rules will affect more than three million travellers per year.
After completing the online form, permission to travel to Canada will be sent by email and will remain in effect for five years.
The eTA is meant to help authorities better screen travellers for admissibility, Orr told AFP.
He noted that Canadian security and intelligence agencies already do so but “not in a systematic way”.
The United States, followed by Britain, France and China (whose citizens require a visa) are the top sources of tourists to Canada, according to government figures.
Transport infrastructure and services for intra-continental travel have been cited as a key constraint limiting the growth of tourism in Africa by the 2015 Africa Tourism Monitor, an annual report on tourism in Africa.
The report, a publication of the African Development Bank (AfDB), says although many major airlines fly to Africa from North America, Europe and Asia, once visitors reach the continent, they encounter difficulties in intra-Africa travel from East to West, and North to South.
“One of the major challenges to travel in Africa is stringent and restricted air service markets, designed to protect the share held by state-owned air carriers.”
The Yamoussoukro Decision or “Open Skies for Africa” adopted at the start of the millennium to deregulate air services on the continent are yet to be implemented though the latter alone is believed to be capable of creating 155,000 new jobs and contributing $1.3 billion to the continent’s GDP if implemented by only a quarter of African countries.
“Some [African] countries have not signed up to the Yamoussoukro Decision, or have failed to fully ratify it, while others that are signatories have not yet implemented it.”
“Another factor that has curtailed its implementation is that some African countries have entered into Economic Bilateral Partnership Agreements (EBPA) with airlines from other continents, which conflicts with the spirit of the Yamoussoukro Decision,” the report says.
The tourism action plan also launched in 2004 under the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) has also not been implemented.
Other major challenges to tourism in Africa in 2015 were security issues, especially in North Africa, Mali and Kenya, and the outbreak of Ebola which created “a climate of fear” that spread to many other African countries far away from the source of the outbreak.
The report indicates that, of the 80 countries for which travel warnings were issued by the US State Department, 30 were located in Africa.
According to the report, many of Africa’s iconic species – animals that attract tourists from across the globe – are on the brink of extinction; poaching and illegal trade in protected species have reached unprecedented levels and authorities need to strengthen their data production in this area.
Overall, the report says the tourism sector in Africa is growing. In 2014, a total of 65.3 million international tourists visited the continent – around 200,000 more than in 2013.
Additionally, from 13,700 rooms in sub-Saharan Africa’s hotel chain development pipeline in 2011, there are now 49,715 rooms in the development pipeline, with 53 per cent of them in West Africa.
Nigeria leads the continent with an incoming 8,563 rooms in 51 hotels, followed by Egypt with 6,440 rooms in 18 hotels, and Morocco with 5,474 from 31 incoming hotels.
TANZANIA Tourist Board (TTB), has been named one of the three finalists in Destination Best Tourist Board Africa category awards for 2015 as it appears to be performing well at international arena.
According to the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Natural Resource and Tourism, Dr Adelhem Meru, the Annual Travvy Awards will be presented by Trav Alliance media at a Gala Awards night in New York City (NYC), January 6, 2016, where TTB will be among other winners receiving the award.
He said that the tourism sector in Tanzania is continuing to perform well at the international arena after the country’s responsible organ for marketing Tanzania as a tourist destination; Travvy Awards recognized the highest standards of excellence in the Industry.
“The Travvy Awards honours travel companies, travel products, travel agencies, travel executives, travel agents and travel destinations,” he said. Other two finalist under the category are South Africa and Namibia Tourism Boards.
Best Tourist Board Africa category for the 2015 Travvy Awards recognizes the highest standards of excellence in the industry today and honours travel companies, travel products, travel agencies, travel executives, travel agents and travel destinations. Selection of the finalists is based on votes by travel agents. The final two winners in the respective categories are determined by the award-winning Travel Alliance editorial team.
He said Tanzania is honoured to be among the finalists for Africa and this is because of the result of dedicated and pro-active work in the US market by Tanzania Tourist Board (TTB), together with The Bradford Group, TTB’s USA representative.
This is due to strong support of Tanzania National Parks (TANAPA) and Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority (NCAA), as well as the Tanzania Embassy in Washington and the Tanzania Mission to the UN in New York.
Dr Meru further said that in addition to Tanzania having some of the world’s most renowned tourism icons, the Serengeti and the Great Animal Migration, it has brought status to Tanzania.
He said that apart from the Serengeti and the great animal migration, others are Mount Kilimanjaro, the Ngorongoro Crater as well as the hidden gems of the South, the Selous Game Reserve and Ruaha National Park, where visitors from all over the world are attracted to visit.
Dr Adelhem noted that this is because of Tanzania’s peace and tranquillity, stability and prevailing democracy that makes it suitable place to stay for visitors. This new development comes after recent developments where Tanzania mainland and Zanzibar were named by the US Travel and Leisure Magazine to be among the annual Best Places to Travel in 2016.
According to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism, Tanzania was also named among 52 places to go this year by the ‘New York Times’, the best African Destination to visit by the Fox News Channel, and the best Safari Country of Africa by Safari Bookings.
Tanzania’s Mt Kilimanjaro and Serengeti National Park were named two of the greatest parks in the world by National Geographic Magazine, to mention just a few. Destination Tanzania has also received continuous positive coverage in tmajor travel publications and broadcast media.
The minister of East African affairs, Shem Bagaine has revealed that citizens of the East African Community (EAC) member states will start receiving the regions electronic passport next year.
“Citizens of the member states will start receiving and using the regional E-Passports next year after the EAC summit meeting, putting a stop to the use of national passports,” he said.
Bagaine said the use of a common E-passport which is globally recognized, will make travels within and without the EAC region easy and fast.
He was speaking during the crowning of the EAC week and marking of the 16 years of regional integration since inception in 1999.
The celebrations were held at CHOGM grounds after marching from the constitutional square, through Luwum Street to Entebbe road and then back to the main grounds.
He said though they agreed that citizens of member states can use their national Identity cards to travel across the EAC countries, the electronic passports will enable them travel safely across the globe.
In 2014, the council of ministers in charge of the EAC affairs and planning in their meeting in Arusha, Tanzania, adopted a design and a roadmap of issuing a common e-passport.
The ministers agreed that the e-passport be made in colors of the EAC flag which is green or sky blue and red with text and national emblems plated in them.
It was also agreed that the travel document be only valid for 10 years.
On Friday, Bagaine said that the e-passport is one of the many significant achievements that the EAC region has had.
Others are having a single customs territory, a common market and the removal of trade barriers such as taxes on produce from within the member states.
He revealed that the EAC is in the process of setting up a national Swahili council in Uganda since it is the Kiswahili language, which is the agreed regional language is less spoken.
Bagaine pointed out that they have already done a pilot study in 68 schools across the country where the language is being taught and are planning to roll out the Kiswahili curriculum to all the schools, with emphasis that the lessons be started in primary one.
He said that for those who are already done with education, a system will be put in place to ensure that they access Swahili lessons and also be evaluated.
However, Justice Geoffrey Kiryabwire of the East African Court of appeal said that the region still has a long way to go to achieve a full integration.
He said that there is need to improve on the basic infrastructures such as education, energy, transport and tourism.
“Economic fundamentals need to be given due consideration for our economies to become vibrant and success. There is need to implement adequate tax and social security reforms as well as contribute to the expansion of the private sector, create jobs and increase productivity,” Kiryabwire who was the chief walker, said.
The judge who also doubles as the Ugandan court of appeal judge said that the region also has to put up strong regional and national institutions in order to fight the corruption scourge.