Arusha — THE Northern Zone Tourism Circuit will, with effective from next year, be receiving at least 150 leisure travellers aboard direct flights from Israel, every week, during the peak season as Jerusalem braces to send here over 6,000 tourists every year.
The path-finding flight from Tel-Aviv to Kilimanjaro International Airport with more than 150 travellers from Jerusalem, among them 10 physically challenged persons and representatives from various Israeli media outlets, accomplished its maiden voyage over the weekend.
They used a chattered El Al Israel Airlines, the same company which will be used in the direct flights between Jerusalem and Kilimanjaro effective from next April (2014).
"The tourists from Israel stayed here for nearly two weeks, with the handicapped persons taking the challenge of scaling Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest peak on the continent, while the rest sampled Ngorongoro Crater, Serengeti National Park and Lake Manyara," stated Mr Geoffrey Tengeneza, communications officer with the Tanzania Tourist Board (TTB).
The Menelik operated, 'Safari Company,' of Tel-Aviv is organizing the Israel-Tanzania tourism-oriented flights. The firm's Managing Director, Ms Ronit Hershkovitz, said that in addition to bringing tourists to KIA the airlines intended to pick Tanzanians heading for their pilgrimage from Kilimanjaro to Jerusalem and that direct flights between the two destinations would take only 5 hours. "We have been experiencing a number of Tanzanians as well as East Africans who travel to the Holy City for pilgrimage or simply to sample the sites described in their holy books.
This is also a niche market for our direct flights," explained Ms Hershkovitz. As for her experience in Tanzania's Northern Circuit, Ms Hershkovitz said it was so awesome as to make her spend her last sent on the touring experience; "I am totally broke but extremely satisfied and I am sure all Israelis back home will be happy to see what I saw!"
Mr Willy Lyimo, Arusha Branch Manager of the Tanzania Tourist Board, pointed out that for years visitors who come into the country hailed mostly from the United States, United Kingdom and other European countries and the breakthrough to the Middle East was extremely important to the growing industry.
Starting from April 2014, El Al Israel airlines will be running four flights each month (once a week) in April, May, June, July, August, September and December between Tel-Aviv and Kilimanjaro, and these were expected to bring more than 6000 tourists from Jerusalem every year.
SOURCE: Tanzania Daily News (Dar es Salaam)