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Tourism
Government touts national tourism policy as best
Posted: Friday November 28, 2008 2:06 AM BT
By Zuwena Shame
Tanzania's tourism policy on hand is good enough to enable us generate even more wealth from the sector, Natural Resources and Tourism Minister Shamsa Mwangunga has said. The Minister made the remarks early this week while opening stakeholders meeting on global value chain analysis in tourism.

"As you may be aware the first national policy was adopted in 1991, setting overall objectives and strategies necessary for ensuring sustainable tourism development in the country", she said.

Through the policy, she said, people can claim considerable achievements that have been made including the establishment of Tanzania Tourist Board (TTB), improvement of the private sector participation and approval of many new tourism related projects in collaboration with the Tanzania Investment Centre (TIC).

Mwangunga said the policy document which was revised in 1999, now focuses on promoting the economy and livelihoods of people through sustainable and quality tourism, sensitive to social-cultural norms and environment.

Likewise, it aims to "market Tanzania as a favoured tourist destination for touring and adventure".
Ultimately, policy would increase contribution of the sector to the GDP and increasing the number of tourists to one million in two year's time.

It is also partly linked to the comprehensive strategy of improving existing tourist infrastructure and to develop it further so as to increase revenue collections from the sector as per the intention of the government.

Both globalisation and trade liberalisation are also fronting lots of challenges on all sectors of the economy including tourism, as increased flow of Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs) in the form of chain hotels and tour operators keeps on coming.

Yet, she lamented that "lower classes do not access significant benefits", this being one of the many challenges brought by massive flows of FDIs.

She added that "this has raised many questions including whether the local population gain any advantage from such kinds of investments, predominantly when costs of living are increasingly going high".

Minister equally noted that indigenous communities are not getting as many jobs as they had expected from the tourism boom, and that they equally feel disenchanted when they see significant volume of inputs from agriculture, fishing, livestock, poultry, transport, accommodation gear and even some labour services are imported from abroad.

Such trends, would most likely cancel out good intentions by agents such as European Commission who are injecting millions in developing economies to promote pro-poor tourism, yet some inputs and services which are locally available continue to be imported.

She therefore paid heed to proposed major research to be carried out by Tanzanian experts seeking to know the extent to which tourism sector is contributing to the wellbeing of the citizens.

For her part, the head of the research team, Professor Lettice Rutashobya of the faculty of commerce and management at the University of Dar es salaam (UDSM) said their work would basically seek to unveil who is benefiting from what due to the quantum leap in tourism operations in the country and what constrains limit inter firm linkages between tourist operations especially the foreign owned ones and local suppliers.

"This research is in recognition of the fact that the multiplier effect created through backward and forward linkages is higher the benefits" said Rutashobya adding that research would not only focus on jobs creased within tourism industry but also jobs that are linked with tourism".

Researchers would also analyse the extent to which tourism is linked with other sectors and how sustainably is it contributing to the development of the home economy and poverty reduction.

Rutashobya said that the study would be consistent with the national and international objectives, like the revised tourism policy of Septembers 1999.

It is going to be a comparative study, so some work would have to be done in Botswana on account of the country's achievement in tourism activities after mining sector.

"We therefore expect that a better understanding of the situation including good practices for linkages between the local business community and tourism establishments can be determined", she said.

To-date, the sector has been contributing 17.2 percent of country's gross domestic product (GDP) and directly employs about 300,000 people, with an average growth rate of 20 percent.

This project has won competitive funding from the Investing Climate and Business Environment Research Fund (ICBE-RF) administered by TRUST AFRICA, Senegal and funded is by the Canadian International Development Research Centre (IDRC) and the Foundation for Sustainable Enterprise and Development (FSED).The research award is among only three large grants for the whole of Africa.

 
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