Tanzania can become major golf destination in Africa

August 27, 2013

Globally, it is well recognised as the home to Africa’s most spectacular national park Serengeti, and one of western world tourists most preferred destination, Tanzania’s is blessed with diverse natural settings. The country of estimated 45 million people is famous for its hospitality industry and most lovely people in Africa. Despite the rich cultural heritage, Tanzania has the capability of becoming a golfing destination. Data available estimates that golf tourism market is worth well over US$15 billion. The recent statistics indicate that over nine percent of the estimated 50 million people who play golf globally travel annually overseas for the purpose of playing the game. Home to tens of golf courses with a wide variety of layouts, Tanzania can become East Africa’s top golfing destination and perhaps only second to South Africa in Africa if those responsible can focus on potential the country has. When I met a tours and travel company CEO from northern Tanzania’s city of Arusha sometimes back, she informed me that Tourism industry stakeholders in Tanzania have added golf to the category of special interest tourism that will be further developed and promoted in a bid to attract foreign golfers.  There is no doubt that the number of golf tourists to Tanzania is not as many as regular tourists who netted the country more than $1.5 billion last year but I strongly agree with the tour company bloke that golfing is a niche that has high yield market.

He also informed me that working with the private sector to upgrade the golf courses in the country as well as participating in golf events could promote his county as golf destinations. Although he admitted that only a couple of golf courses in the country have met international golfing standards, some of the courses are back dropped by spectacular features mountains like Kilimanjaro Golf and Wildlife Estate that comprises an 18-hole championship golf course, Indian ocean, lakes, forests and skylines in cities like Arusha, Mwanza and Dar Es Salaam strengthening Tanzania’s position as a potential golf destination.Although as a stakeholder he could not exactly identify the number of golfers visiting Tanzania, his estimates was that each golfer spends an average of $1,700 to $3,200 during their golfing holiday in Tanzania, higher than a regular tourist who spends around $900 – $1800. What Tanzania need to do is to aggressively promote itself as a golf attractions whenever the stakeholders participates in tourism shows and exhibition and can even go an extra mile to provide incentives to golfers such as tax incentives. Tourism ministry in the country also need to work with golf operators and regional as well as international airlines who could allow golfing passengers to bring their golf equipment at no extra cost, to attract high number of travelers. African countries have been witnessing increased interest from African countries and Asian golfers and that offers big potential golfing tourism market for countries like Tanzania. In South Africa, the continent’s top golf tourism destination has seen tour operators and hotels have played a key role in helping the rainbow nation to jump on the golf tourism bandwagon. With full support of Tanzanian government’s, East Africa’s largest country could become one of preferred golfing tourism destinations in Africa.

Contador Harrison