Two weeks ago I attended the African Travel Association‘s Second Annual Presidential Forum on Tourism at New York University. The forum, organized by the ATA – a global travel trade association promoting tourism to Africa – and hosted by NYU’s Africa House, was put together to provide African leaders from Tanzania, Ghana, Cape Verde, Lesotho, Zambia, Malawi, and Rwanda with the opportunity to “present the continentâ€™s rich travel opportunities to almost 200 leaders from government, non-government and business communities, the tourism industry, travel trade media, and education”. As we waited for the Presidents and representatives to arrive, I spoke to Maria Mmari, Tanzania’s Assistant Director of Tourism Development, who told me about her country’s efforts to encourage tourism. Ms. Mmari informed me that the week prior, Tanzania had launched it’s first ever television campaign â€œTanzania: Land of Kilimanjaro, Zanzibar and The Serengetiâ€ with an event at at Tavern on the Green. In line with the ATA’s current theme of promoting “Destination Africa“, Tanzania’s campaign focuses on positioning the nation as the home of some of Africa’s most recognized destinations, Mt. Kilimanjaro, Zanzibar and the Serengeti, Speaking to Ms. Mmari, I got the feeling that the Tanzanian tourism board had the right idea about what steps to take to encourage American tourism. As Ali Velshi, CNN senior business correspondent, said during his presentation at forum, “American tourists are concerned with safety, reliable communications, stable governance, reliable banking, and luxury”, and African countries hoping to attract these high-spending tourists need to find ways of alleviating these fears. Though I haven’t yet seen Tanzania’s television spot on CNN, CNN Headline News, CNN Airport and CNN.com where it is currently running, I applaud the Tanzanian government for taking the steps to create a brand association for their country. I would encourage the tourism board to continue their efforts. It’s good to see that African governments are taking branding and marketing seriously. I’ve long argued that African countries needs to work on their brand image at the same time as it is working on it’s other problems. While everything might not be perfect on the ground, there is no reason not to start the process of repairing the global image and get interested parties involved in our successes early on.
Bradford Global Marketing, New York, is handling the campaign, which will run through the year-end holidays on CNNâ€™s airport network. Placement also includes CNNâ€™s â€œHeadline News and CNN.com through next March and resumes again next fall. Budget was not disclosed. The outreach also will include on online training program to train travel agents as destination specialists. The U.S. is Tanzaniaâ€™s No. 2 source market behind the U.K. More on the campaign at BrandWeek