This year’s festival is currently in progress at the Nyerere Square grounds in Dodoma after being officially opened there by Vice President Samia Suluhu Hassan last Saturday (September 15).
According to the festival chairman, Prof Audax Mabula, over 30,000 visitors had attended the Dodoma event in the four days leading up to yesterday.
Prof Mabula explained that apart from promoting the country’s cultural tourism potential, the festival also provides room for local tribes to showcase their individual traditional values.
“We have exhibitions in traditional and culinary arts and craft, tourism entrepreneurship, and traditional dances among other activities. This festival cuts across various social and economic sectors. It is the right arena for the country to promote its cultural heritage internationally,” he said.
A senior representative of the Wagogo tribe in Dodoma Region, Lazaro Chihoma, pointed out that the festival is also important in helping the youth to better understand where their ancestry is coming from.
The Urithi Festival is normally conducted in the month of September which is the peak period for tourism in Tanzania. This year’s event kicked off in Mwanza, Karatu and Arusha regions between September 8 and 12, before moving to Dodoma.
According to officials of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism, it will continue in Zanzibar from September 23 to 29, and then Dar es Salaam from September 29 to October 6.
The Urithi Festival was initiated to promote national identity, symbols, pride, unity, and patriotism; and to celebrate Tanzania’s rich and diversified cultural heritage.
Also to encourage the recognition, preservation, and promotion of national cultural values; and develop and promote cultural heritage assets as tourist products.
The festival is an opportunity for entrepreneurs, tourism stakeholders, artists, corporate and other interested stakeholders to showcase their products and services.
All citizens, residents, members of the diaspora, tourists and other visitors to the country are encouraged to participate fully as either exhibitors or observers.