PLANS are underway to boost the prospects of cultural tourism as Tanzania gears to host increasing number of tourists.
Tourism and Natural Resources Minister Pindi Chana said here on Friday that the country will continue to promote cultural tourism mindful of its prospects as Tanzania looks to attract five million tourists in the next three years.
Dr Chana who was speaking at the inaugural Maasai Festival, said she was optimistic of the potential of cultural tourism to boost growth of the sector.
“This is right time to come up with more creative ideas and to start with, cultural tourism will be among our priorities,” hinted the Minister.
According to Dr Chana, cultural tourism gives the local population the opportunity to benefit financially from their cultural heritage and thus to appreciate and preserve it, while giving visitors the opportunity to broaden their personal horizons.
“The income generated from this form of tourism is used by local people for specific development programmes and social services,” she said.
According to the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), cultural tourism is one of the fastest-growing segments of the tourism industry, accounting for an estimated 40 per cent of all tourism worldwide.
It intersects with heritage and religious sites, crafts, performing arts, gastronomy, festivals and special events, among others.
Mr Said Maulid Rukemo, the brains behind Maasai festival said the platform will promote the wealth of heritage of the semi-nomadic pastoralists.
“I’ve used the Maasai to showcase how most culturally and distinctive the Maasai are,” explained Mr Rukemo.
Addressing delegates at the UNWTO Regional Commission for Africa meeting here last week, Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa said the five-million tourists arrival was still within reach, as Tanzania explores on other tourism products.
The Premier said that the country was banking on Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, Exhibitions (MICE) tourism as an alternative way of realizing the envisioned target.
Tanzania targets an increase in income from the sector to notch 6 billion US dollars (about 14tri/-) from 5,000,000 tourists come 2025, up from the current 1,527,230 arrivals and an income of 2.6 billion US dollars (about 5tri/-).