Tanzania’s earnings from travel dropped by 59.2 percent in December 2020 to $1.06 billion, resulting in a decline in overall earnings from export goods and services by $849.3 million.
According to the Bank of Tanzania’s (BoT) monthly economic review for January, “the number of international tourist arrivals declined to 616,491 from 1,527,230 in the year ending December 2019.”
Before the global pandemic, tourism was Tanzania’s leading source of forex, earning $2.5 billion in 2019, according to data from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism.
The value of traditional exports dropped to $8.8 billion in December 2020, from $9.65 billion in December 2019. The central bank attributed the decrease to declines in export values of low production of coffee and cotton, and reduced volumes and prices of tea and sisal.
On a month-by-month basis, the value of traditional goods exports decreased to $135.5 million in December 2020 from $153 million in the same month in 2019.
This was largely due to low exports of cashewnuts, tobacco, and sisal consistent with the export season for most cash crops.
The value of non-traditional exports increased by $1.12 billion to $5.29 billion in 2020, from $4.16 billion in 2019, mainly due to good performance in horticultural products, manufactured goods and all minerals except diamonds.
In the same period, gold exports increased by 33.5 per cent to $2.95 billion and accounted for 55.9 percent of non-traditional exports, following an increase in both volume and price.
Month-to-month, the export value of non-traditional exports rose to $457 million in December 2020 from $447.8 million in the same month in 2019. The rise was largely explained by the increase in exports of minerals.
Last year, the import bill for goods and services decreased to $8.9 billion from $10.36 billion registered in the previous year.
“This is largely driven by a decrease in imports of capital and intermediate goods. Much of the decrease was recorded in transport equipment and oil,” says the BoT report .