ARUSHA: THE government has pledged to continue supporting efforts aimed at promoting Tanzanian culture and traditions, citing their contributions to the growth of the country’s income through the tourism sector.
The Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism, Ms Angellah Kairuki, made the assurance while closing the two-day 2023 Kilimanjaro Cultural Festival (KCF) held in Moshi.
The occasion coincided with the launch of the Homestay Programme, which aims to use the houses of Kilimanjaro residents who live outside the Kilimanjaro region to accommodate tourists who prefer homestays over hotel accommodations.
“The areas of local culture and traditions are very important in promoting the national economy, as many local cultural attractions attract a large number of tourists. The government will provide targeted support to ensure that local culture and tradition initiatives continue to grow,” she said.
She added: “I offer my sincere congratulations to the leadership of KCF for creating this festival that honours the culture, traditions, and customs of the people of the Kilimanjaro region. I encourage them to make the programme sustainable for future generations and to continue monitoring and listing cultural items such as heritage sites, ancient properties, traditional clothing, and traditional dances to further promote them.”
Regarding the homestay programme, Ms Kairuki said it was a new potential area that will contribute to an increase in tourists in the country. There are tourists who prefer this kind of accommodation during their visits to different countries.
“The important thing here is to ensure that the houses within the programme are improved to meet the needs of the tourists. So that when they return home, they can recommend such accommodations to other tourists who are interested in visiting the country,” Ms Kairuki said.
Minister Kairuki further advised the management of the KCF to include the houses of residents who reside within the region in the homestay programme.
“People with houses who live in the region also have a place in this programme because there are tourists who would like to stay in local houses instead of hotels. This way, they can learn about the culture of the places they will stay, including the type of food they cook and consume, the types of clothes they wear, and the culture of the places where they will stay through the homestay programme,” she said.
She also mentioned that besides providing income to the owners of the respective houses in the programme, who often use them during end-of-year celebrations, the residents of the area will benefit from the income that will come from tourists purchasing different items and even food from local residents.
Ms Kairuki delivered President Samia Suluhu Hassan’s greetings at the event and stated that the Head of State has urged the KCF management to make the festival an annual event. This is due to its contribution to efforts to improve the tourism sector through Tanzanian cultures and traditions.
“When you are celebrating this important cultural activity, today (Thursday) President Samia is being awarded an honorary doctorate degree (PhD) by the State University of Zanzibar (SUZA) in recognition of her contributions to promoting the country’s tourism sector,” she added.
Ms Kairuki called on tourism stakeholders to be prepared to receive many tourists next year, as the ministry’s projections indicate an increase in the number of tourists visiting Tanzania.
Earlier, KCF Chairman Mr Ansi Mmas said that the festival has been officially established to promote the tourism sector through the culture of the people of the Kilimanjaro Region.
The goal is to have more than 10,000 participants by the year 2028, compared to the more than 1,000 who were present this year.
“The goal of this festival is to support the government’s efforts to promote the tourism sector through the cultural, traditional and customs found in the Kilimanjaro region, derived from the culture of the tribes found in the Kilimanjaro region,” he said.