Why Is Dar-Es-Salaam City Not Attracting Tourists?

Dar-es-alaam is an East African Coastal City which, if truth be said, is endowed with rich History.

Warm and Humid, the City boasts a long perimeter of beaches, adequate boarding facilities, attractive sceneries and happens to lie at close proximity with the rather popular Zanzibar Islands.

Also, from the bird’s eye view, Dar-es-salaam normally looks ‘green.’

However, when it comes to revenues generated from Tourism, Dar-es-salaam tails far away behind other regions in Tanzania.

In fact, Dar-es-salaam only churns out a measly 88 million/- per annum in total revenues from Tourism activities, or at least visitors.

Possibly the best photo of Dar-es-salaam as shot by Osse Greca Sinare

And that is despite the fact that Dar is a stone-throw away from the historical Bagamoyo town and related Kaole ruins.

Dar seems to be losing the cake to ‘up country’ destination, with the attractions located in the Northern Circuit almost raking it all.

The rather overtrodden Northern Zone, which is home to Mount Kilimanjaro, Ngorongoro Crater and Serengeti National Park, yields 54.4 billion/- from tourism activities.

Data from Statista. Global No.1 Business Data Platform

The North, also takes the lion share of all inbound international visitors, with over 80 percent of all annual tourists opting for mostly the attractions found in Arusha and Kilimanjaro Regions.

The Lake Zone come second as far as tourism revenues are concerned, generating 6.13 billion/- from the leisure travel industry. It shares the Serengeti with North, floating National Parks (Saa-Nane and Rubondo) and series of Game Reserves.

Apparently, according to Statista, the ‘Seven Figures’ in tourism revenues remain in the North and Lake zone precincts.

The Central Zone of Tanzania, third on the list, churns out, 744.1 million/- from tourism.

Tourism in the Southern Highlands produces 415 Million/- in revenues. And that is despite hosting Tanzania’s largest (Nyerere) and second largest (Ruaha), National Parks.

There is also the South Eastern Zone which yields around 279 million/- in tourism revenues.

Tagging last in the list then comes Dar-es-salaam, the country’s main port and commercial capital which struggles to generate 88 million/- from Tourism.

But, the Tourism Sector Survey, using the Tourist Expenditure model, it estimates that Tanzania earned USD 1,288,699,561 in 2008, out of which Zanzibar earned USD 160,258,272. These earnings accrued from 770,376 and 98,677 international visitor arrivals to Tanzania and Zanzibar, respectively. 

On average, Tanzania gets 1.5 million tourists per year. (That was before the 2019 and 2020 pandemic beriod)

For observers, the question lingers, why isn’t Dar-es-salaam Coastline pulling in visitors like Mombasa, located on the same stretch on the Kenyan side, or even Zanzibar across the waters?

Some have been complaining that the coastal city is noisy and chaotic, with horrid public transportation.

Others claim, the Dar-es-salaam tourism thunder has been stolen by Zanzibar located a few kilometers across the ocean where beach tourism flourish amid historical sites.

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