DAR ES SALAAM, April 19 (Xinhua) -- Tanzania will promote its tourism attractions at an international tourism festival to be held in the French city of Cherbourg-Octeville in July, a senior official said on Thursday.
Tanzania's Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism, Hamisi Kigangwalla, told a news conference in Dar es Salaam that Tanzania will team up with other African countries at the festival, known as the International Heritage Festival, and will be able to promote the continent's tourist attractions collectively.
A preparatory meeting of key stakeholders from various African countries ended on Thursday in the commercial capital Dar es Salaam ahead of the festival, Kigangwalla said.
"This is a platform for us to showcase our tourist products and we want to use it as a golden chance to attract tourists to visit our attractions at the same time showcasing what Africa has," said Kigwangalla.
He added: "Tanzania will be participating for the first time in the festival."
Eloi Coly, Africa's commissioner for the festival who is also the site manager for the House of Slaves in Senegal, said there was need for Africa to stay together when it came to advocating matters that were of collective interest.
"Many people view Africa as a place which has nothing to offer but in reality there is a lot of historical heritage that we can offer to the world, and the festival will provide space for that," he said.
In recent years Tanzania has embarked on plans aimed at marketing its tourism attractions in Asia and Europe.
Tourism is Tanzania's largest foreign exchange earner since 2012, contributing an average of 2 billion U.S. dollars annually, which is equivalent to 25 percent of all exchange earnings, according to government data.
Tourism also contributes to more than 17 percent of the country's GDP, creating more than 1.5 million jobs.