TANZANIA, Africa (eTN) – Travel trade and tourism will be key economic sectors to benefit from the visit of Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh to Tanzania next Thursday.
Reports from New Delhi and Dar es Salaam in Tanzania confirmed the Indian Premier’s visit to Africa in a trip aimed to strengthen bilateral cooperation between India and strategic African nations.
Tourism is among the top items on the business agenda set for discussions, which the Indian Prime Minister’s delegation will be addressing while in Tanzania, aiming at pulling more Indian investors to invest in Tanzania’s half-exploited tourist resources.
Dr. Singh, who ranks among Indian leaders with wide knowledge on African economies, will jet into Tanzania next Thursday for a three-day official visit, which will bring him into various discussions with his host, Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete.
According to the Indian deputy minister for Africa and Europe in the Indian Ministry of External Affairs, Vivek Katju, Dr. Singh will hold discussions with President Jakaya Kikwete on various protocols aimed at strengthening India-Tanzania and cooperation in various economic and social sector projects including tourism, agriculture, and Information Communication Technology (ICT).
Trade between India and Africa stands at US$45 billion, and businesses from the Asian sub-continent have invested US$15 billion in Africa cumulatively.
Up to this year, Tanzania’s export to India stood at a value of US$132.5 million, mainly agricultural products, seafoods, and livestock products. Similarly, Indian-direct imports to Tanzania stood at US$596.7 million, mostly vehicles, agricultural machinery, ICT equipment, chemicals, and hospital facilities.
In the area of investment, Indian companies and businesses in Tanzania are valued at about US$1.3 billion, creating about 32,000 jobs in Tanzania through direct investments and joint venture projects. In total, the India-Tanzania bilateral trade stood at US$1.1 billion up to the end of last year.
Tanzania had launched a strong tourism marketing campaign in India, looking at pulling Indian hotel investors to invest in key Tanzanian tourist sites and Indian tourists to visit Tanzania.
On the other hand, Indian medical tourism had in recent years attracted big numbers of Tanzanian medical tourists, mostly those attending hospital services at Apollo Hospital in New Delhi.
Ranking higher in travel and tourism, Indian tourist companies are the leaders in Tanzania’s travel trade, ranging from ground tour operators, travel agents, hotel operators, and airline suppliers.
Indians are counted among early travelers to East Africa over 150 years ago as merchants, sailors, and labor employed in railroad building. Indian community continues to play an important role in the travel trade and tourist industry in Tanzania and East Africa.
Tanzania hosts about 40,000 people of Indian origin. It is concentrated in the major towns of Dar es Salaam, Arusha, Dodoma, Morogoro, Zanzibar, Mwanza, and Mbeya. The vast majority is from Gujara,t mainly from Kutch and Kathiawad.
In addition, about 8,000 Indian nationals (expatriates) live and work in Tanzania, mainly in tourist hotel services, information technology, and travel services.
Tanzania and India have traditionally enjoyed close, friendly, and cooperative relations. From the 1960s to the 1980s, the political relationship was driven largely by shared ideological commitments in various forms, as well as genuine desire for South-South Cooperation in which Dr. Singh was the Secretary General.
India opened its High Commission office in Dar es Salaam in 1961, and in 1974, a Consulate General of India was set up in the Indian Ocean tourist island of Zanzibar.