Tanzanians can increase income from tourism without depending from foreign travellers if they simplify and diversify the ways and means of visiting the country’s attractions, Temeke lawmaker Abbas Mtemvu has said.
Speaking at the launch of a tourism promotion on Saturday in Dar es Salaam, Mtemvu said joint efforts are needed to increase the number of Tanzanians visiting local tourism attractions.
The promotion dubbed ‘Talii na Uchumi’ is coordinated by Uchumi Supermarket and involves seven tourist hotels located in Dar es Salaam and Zanzibar. They are Sea Cliff, Golden Tulip, Kijiji Beach, Oceanic Bay, JB Belmonte, White Sand and Regency.
Under the promotion, the Supermarket will organise a draw after every three months from which the winners (Tanzanian nationals) would be sponsored to live in one of the hotels for one week.
He said there are many countries which a big part of their incomes derive from their nationals and not foreigners.
“China and other Far East Asian countries depend on their nationals for tourism earnings, even if foreigners will not visit their tourism attractions still they would survive,” he said.
Mtemvu said time has come for the Tanzania National Parks (Tanapa) to start investing heavily on local tourism.
“Tanapa should continue promoting local tourism in partnership with local hotels so that the number of local tourists exceeds that of foreign visitors,” he said.
The MP said if Tanzanians decide to increase tourism income, they can, but what is lacking is strong coordination from relevant authorities.
He also emphasised on foreign companies operating in the country to purchase locally produced goods in order to save foreign exchange.
“We have a good experience in mining companies, where they import even tomatoes and onions which could be produced here, this is not good for the development of the localcommunity,” he said.
Mtemvu commended Uchumi Supermarket for its decision to employ Tanzanians in various departments and urged other companies to emulate them.
For his part, Uchumi Super market Country manager Chris Lenana, said more efforts are needed to make people participate in tourism activities.
He said his firm has launched a three-month promotion where the winners will have a chance to stay in one of the big tourist hotels.
“We have decided to promote tourist activities in this way, in order to enable more Tanzanians visit the attractions faound in their own country,” he said.
Uchumi Supermarket which is headquartered in Kenya was established 17 years ago and has operations in Uganda and Tanzania.