How endowed in cultural tourism is Tanzania

28Jan 2016
Beatrice Philemon
The Guardian
How endowed in cultural tourism is Tanzania

INTERVIEW with Tanzania Tourist Board (TTB)’s Cultural Tourism Programme Coordinator, Elirehema Maturo on what has been done to promote cultural tourism in Tanzania

Tourists joined in Maasai traditional dancing

QUESTION: In what way has Tanzania Tourist Board (TTB) influenced the local people to visit the tourist attraction and cultural tours and what are the challenges you are facing along the way?
ANSWER: TTB has influenced local people to visit tourist attractions and cultural tours through promotions made in domestic trade fairs such as Dar-Es-Salaam International Trade Fair, Karibu Travel market, Kili Fair and Swahili International Tourism Expo. Through these fairs local trade visitors are encouraged to visit our attractions and special subsidized tours are being organized.
The main challenges that we face from local people is basically a mindset problem. Despite special rates offered as fees, most people do not consider visiting our attractions because they feel they are familiar to them. But with time people are changing, things will change as well. Currently cultural tourism contributes USD 1.5 million per year to the national income.
Could you elaborate on what is cultural tourism in Tanzania?
Cultural Tourism in Tanzania adopts a community based tourism approach in which the local people are directly involved in designing, organising tours and showing tourists aspects of their lives in the areas they live in.
Cultural Tourism in Tanzania enables tourists to experience the local people's ways of life, offering insights into the values, beliefs and traditions in host communities' own environment while economic benefit is derived from such activities to local communities.
In Tanzania, Cultural Tourism programme adopts sustainable pro-poor tourism approaches which focus on unlocking opportunities for the poor to benefit more within tourism.
The programme offers visitors a chance to get off the beaten truck to explore local life hence offering the best way to get in touch with local culture.
Q: Which kind of cultural tourism can tourists expect to witness in Tanzania?
A: The type of cultural tourism tourists should expect to witness in Tanzania is a combination of authentic cultural experiences from more than 120 ethnic tribes, each endowed with unique cultural values, beliefs, traditions and history.
Tourist should expect to witness authentic experiences that combine nature, scenery, folklore, ceremonies, dances, rituals, tales, art, handicrafts and hospitality and give a unique insight into people's ways of life.
Q: Could you indicate major areas that tourists from foreign countries including Tanzania can visit to witness the cultural tourism?
A: Major areas that local and foreign tourists can visit to witness cultural tourism includes Northern Circuit, Central Tanzania and Coastal region.In Northern Circuit we have the following registered Enterprises- Kiliman Cultural Tourism Enterprise (CTE), Rau eco and Cultural Tourism Enterprise, Maachame Nkweshoo CTE, Mamba and Marangu CTE, Materuni CTE, Olpopongi CTE, Simangori CTE, Southern Pare CTE, Northern Pare CTE, Agape Mulala CTE and Ee-Yeiyo CTE,
Others include Tengeru Cultural Enterprises, (CTE), MAtunda CTE, Meru Forest Eco and Cultural Tourism, Ilkinding'a CTE, Oldonyo Sambu CTE, Ilkurot CTE, Ng'iresi CTE, Longido CTE, Karatu Iraqw CTE, Karatu Ganako CTE, Babati and Hanang CTE, Lake Eyasi CTE, Engaresero CTE, Engaruka CTE, Hydom Four Corners CTE, Mkuru Camel, Monduli Juu, Mto wa Mbu CTE, Mererani Tanzanite CTE, Themi Valley CTE, Lyamungo CTE, Mto wa Mbu CTE.
In the Lake Zone area we have: Mara Arts Center CTE, Butiama Museum and CTE, Ikoma CTE, Serengeti CTE, Ukerewe CTE.
While in central Tanzania- Dodoma region we have Kondoa Irangi CTE, in coastal region of Tanga , Dar-Es- Salaam and Coast region we have Tanga CTE, Pangani coast CTE, Bagamoyo CTE, Mlingoting CTE, Usambara CTE, Kisangara CTE, Kilwa CTE.
In Southern Tanzania there is Sisi kwa Sisi cultural enterprise, Mbeya CTE, Rungwe Tea and Tours CTE, Liuli-Pomonda CTE while in the Lake Zone area we have Mara Arts Center CTE, Butiama Museum and CTE, Ikoma CTE, Serengeti CTE, Ukerewe CTE.
Q: Could you elaborate on trends of cultural tourism in Tanzania?
A: Cultural Tourism in Tanzania has witnessed a growth from three modules in 1996 to 60 Cultural Tourism Enterprises in 2014.
The number of visitors increased from 300 visitors by 1996 to 70,000 annual visitors by 2014.
The programme currently benefits 4,000 people who play different roles such as coordinators, tour guides, handcraft makers, traditional dancers and food providers.

Q: What is the potential of cultural tourism, how big it is and to what extent has this potential been exploited?
A: With more than 120 ethnic tribes in the country, the potential for CT product is still promising. Cultural tourism has shown good potential for directly contributing to poverty reduction through direct tour fees, jobs and income creation for local people as well as providing market for local products.
The programme inspires the local communities with creativity and commitment in whatever business they are doing.
The programme has inspired women with entrepreneurial spirit of becoming coordinators, handicraft makers, food providers and guides who make their living from tourism to meet their family ends.
There is still more potential that is awaiting to be explored from cultural tourism segment. There are more products to be discovered and developed in the future.
Currently we have more than 80 CT initiatives waiting to join the family. Most of them are in the Southern Tanzania and they are eager to share this cake which others are benefiting.
Q: Why cultural tourism is very important in Tanzania?
cultural tourism is very important because of income creation it has, employment creation to local communities, improvement of schools, health services, renovation of cattle dips, maintenance of access roads through contributions made in form of village development fee (VDF) and contribution to environmental conservation through establishment of tree nurseries, primary schools environmental clubs.
Q: What are the major attractions in cultural tourism?
A: The major attractions in cultural tourism are authentic local villages, the taste of local cuisines with all culinary variations, local brew preparation and tasting, traditional dances, local markets, traditional arts and crafts such as Tingatinga, Makonde carvings among others.
Others are traditional ceremonies, coffee tours, visits to local farms, canoeing tours, cycling tours, schools and other historical monuments such as buildings, churches, museums.
Other natural attractions such as beautiful lakes, rivers, waterfalls, forests, hills and mountains plays attract tourists to explore cultural tourism villages.
Q: What are the major challenges facing TTB in promoting cultural tourism and how does the TTB provide solutions to its key challenges?
A: The major challenges facing TTB in promoting cultural tourism are different levels of performance with some enterprises doing quite well and others struggling.
To solve this problem TTB provides technical support on important matters such as product pricing, tour packaging, and frequent filed visit to ascertain product quality.
Other challenge includes Low levels of business management and planning skills. To solve this challenge, TTB provide training to cultural tourism enterprises (CTEs) on CT business management best practices, general tourism product development and marketing training.
Reporting and record keeping: TTB through CTP coordination office is working closer with CTEs to educate them on the importance of proper record keeping and periodic follow up of performance reports.
Q: What has been done to promote cultural tourism inside and outside the country?
A: There are several initiatives which are undertaken by (TTB) - (Cultural Tourism Programme (CTP) across the country and overseas as follows:
Promotion through CTP website under the domain which has detailed information of officially registered Cultural Tourism Programmes in the country.
The website provides a marketing platform where tourists get detailed information on existing cultural attractions, their location, contact information and booking formalities.
Promotion through trade fairs and exhibition participation: Cultural tourism is effectively promoted through participation of CTEs in trade fairs and exhibitions within the country and abroad.
The trade fairs act as a platform where representatives of cultural tourism enterprises get a chance to meet with buyers, exchange contacts and market their products.
“For example this year, TTB-CTP provided support to CTEs for their participation in the Swahili International Tourism Expo in Dar-Es-Salaam, Karibu Travel Market in Arusha and Kili Fair in Kilimanjaro,” he said.
Others are promotion through diverse media channels such as travel newspapers, UNWTO Tourism story book, television programmes and International Tourism sites. TTB has continuously provided budgetary support in anchoring tv-programmes, placing articles in newspapers and travel magazines such as Tan-Travel,
Promotion through printing and distribution cultural tourism booklet with necessary information on CTEs and through continued support from TTB, 10,000 copies were produced and distributed in Major Domestic Tourism Fairs this year.
Promotion through local and international awards contests and ceremonies to attract attention from other tourism Stakeholders as well as direct contact at International Trade Fairs where TTB participate to Market destination Tanzania.
Promotion by directly linking CTEs with tour operators, travel agents, lodges, hotels, Volunteer organizations, Development organization , airlines which is undertaken through CTP coordination unit in collaboration with TTB-Tourist Information Offices..
Q: What are the advantages of cultural tourism and how many people or groups have already benefited from cultural tourism in all areas where they are?
A: Advantages of cultural tourism include creation of employment and income generation to local communities, improvement of education , improvement of health services, Improved standards of living to rural communities, encourage innovation and sense of creativity among local people, encourage preservation of local culture, provides market to local goods and services and encourage environmental conservation practices.
By 2014, a total of 4000 local people benefited from direct income from cultural tourism activities all over the country.
Q: Could you elaborate on trend of cultural tourism in Tanzania and the status it has?
A: Cultural tourism in Tanzania has witnessed a growth from 3 modules in 1996 to 60 Cultural Tourism Enterprises in 2014.
The number of visitors increased from 300 visitors by 1996 to 70,000 annual visitors by 2014.
The programme currently benefits 4,000 people who play different roles such as coordinators, tour guides, handcraft makers, traditional dancers and food providers.