Tanzania's central bank has formally announced a slump in the country's tourism sector for the second half of the current fiscal year which ends in June.
The Bank of Tanzania said in its monetary policy statement for February that the growth of tourism in between January and June this year would slow down due to the global financial crisis.
One evidence to support the statement was the fact that current tourist hotel bookings in Tanzania were 17 percent lower when compared with the fourth quarter of last year.
"It is worth noting that the United States and United Kingdom which are currently under recession are major sources of tourists to Tanzania," said the statement.
The tourism sector, which contributes nearly one fifth, or 17.
5 percent to be exact, toward the country's gross domestic product, fared not so well either in the first half of the current fiscal year.
Available statistics showed that between July and December last year, 425,137 sightseers and mountain climbers had visited 15 national parks in Tanzania, short of the projected number of 500, 881 visitors.
Because of the decline of the number of visitors, the actual tourism earnings from these national parks for the same period were down to 41.
6 billion Tanzanian shillings (33.
28 million U.
dollars) instead of the projected 49.
4 billion shillings (39.
52 million dollars).
But thanks to the influx of foreign tourists in the first half of last year, tourism earnings improved by 16 percent to 1.
22 billion dollars in all of 2008, compared with the previous 12 months.
Tourism earnings accounted for 60.
3 percent of the service receipts of the country.