Sunday, 25 June 2017

TANZANIA: Tourism Growth Will Need Plenty Of Initiatives

Airline operations demand a lot of financial investments and thus the government might find itself digging deep into its pockets to keep the operations afloat in the contexts of competition, customer demands, and political interventions here and there.

And with time, salvation may lie in joint venturing with experienced airlines, or raising operational funds through selling shares. In whichever option, for both the government and shareholders, profitability will be watched keenly.

For growth in tourism to be achieved, one must see and evaluate the engagement and effective roles of many more stakeholders private and public.

In this lies the differences in our country's tourism efforts and it should not be lost on the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism to provide enough funds to enable TTB effect its strategic marketing plan.

And no amount of wishful thinking by the ministry on the need for massive advertising will make Tanzania, as a tourism destination, be known unless those wishes are backed up with sufficient funds for advertising and promotion.

For many years, TTB has been under-funded and now is closing even its strategic offices in America And while Kenya and Zanzibar are registering a growth of cruise ships arrivals, little is known of such type of tourists in Dar es Salaam, Tanga or Mtwara ports.

Only in January 2017, Mombasa received 1,050 visitors from a cruise ship Ms Nautica, operated by Oceania Cruises. If growing the tourist numbers into Tanzania is a tall order for whatever reason, the other option, thus, is to ensure the few tourists in Tanzania spend a considerable amount of money on our services and products.

This needs an elaborate strategy whch is inclusive of as many players as possible. According to an American Marketing Guru, Igor Ansoff, there is a market-growth matrix which articulates this option clearly.

In market penetration, tourists can increase the quantity and frequency of consumption if sufficient marketing efforts on Tanzanian products and services are undertaken.

The synergy between TTB and ATC can ensure Tanzania gets regularly good numbers of tourists but it remains to be seen how other local market collaborators, (including hoteliers, tour operators and national parks) play roles.

A growth in numbers would not impact on many Tanzanians. It is therefore a duty of many more players to be intellectually alert, professionally skillful and strategy oriented.

And this needs a concerted policy by one regulator to see to it that no contradiction is seen from any tourism operator. Yes, the advent of the Bombadier planes is a ma jor tonic in tourism and one which expects others to play the game in equal measure so that a correlation of benefits to more players can be seen in a country of many tourism resources.

But this will make sense only when sufficient efforts are applied in hotel grading, upgrading of tourism and hotel training college, infrastructural face-lifts and more funding to the Tanzania Tourist Board to market Tanzania and sensitize Tanzanians of their role and benefits thereof from tourism.

The monitoring and evaluation of the many-in tourism is one area that does not come to the fore of the public interest in a transparent manner, possibly because of the absence of a regulatory authority and policy or mechanism to hold players accountable for what they plan to do.

Tanzania should scale up this important industry to villagers so that they can feel a sense of belonging as the many natural resources exist near their communities.

The legendary American boxer Muhammad Ali once said "The man who has no imagination, has no wings." Whoever thought the makonde carvings and selling should be delegated to the fringes of the city denies this country a lot of tourist pur chases.

Furthermore, the abolition of the Village Museum dance troupes does not see the frustration of tourist market and appetite for cultural exchange and taste. Most tourists come for the difference that our country can offer and we fail to seize these opportunities because of a deficit in creativity.

And all these happen when Baraza la Sanaa and TASUBA, like TTB or ATC, are fully financied by the government and spends more time in Dar while there is a lot of cultural undertakings upcountry that needs to be marketed when tourists visit.

Positioning strategies in tourism for Tanzania have other opportunities in cultural tourism if the one hundred and twenty tribes could be sensitized along the cultural activities unique to each region or tribe like the Maasai dance, Sukuma snake dance or other music folklores, menus and artifacts.

The tourists will enjoy these issues and spend money on them hence enrich the local people out of their poverty. Equally, Karibu Tourism Fair in Arusha and Kili Tourism Fair in Moshi are a pointer of what the private sectors in other regions can do to join the bandwagon of tourism promotional strategy.

In a country where beer industry has a long and vibrant drinking history, the tourists with their drinking fete background would travel in droves to coincide with a beer festival for the drinking season like it is done in Europe.

All this is said here to show how tourists can spend more money while in Tanzania instead of concentrating on the traditional menu of sea, sand and sun or merely the conventional flora et fauna.

Tourists numbers matter but also how much they spend while touring Tanzania counts more hence a need to strike optimal balance between these two factors.

With bombadier planes, let tourists reach Katavi Region to see the rare white giraffes and Manyara Region to see the tree climbing lions while Kigoma Region offers the chimpanzee and the historical ship, Mv Liemba on the second deepest Lake Tanganyika.

In this manner, tourism will be scaled up to the level of a major employer both in urban and rural areas to provide jobs and reduce poverty.

No comments: