How TTB envisions future of local tourism

TANZANIA: THE Tanzania Tourist Board (TTB) is envisioning a new strategy to transform hospitality industry in the country, coming up with cocreation, designed to fully engage consumers in improving and creating new products in the sector.

Co-creation, in the context of a business, refers to a product or service design process in which input from consumers plays a central role from beginning to end.

TTB Director General Ephraim Mafuru is determined to transform tourism landscape in the country, attracting the numbers of both domestic and international arrivals. He also places much priority and emphasis on attracting as many high-end tourists as possible.

“It is imperative, we begin thinking and implementing a procedure which allows consumers to submit ideas, designs or content. This way, we will not run out of ideas regarding the design to be created and at the same time, significantly help in improving service provision,” he said during a meeting with editors in Mikumi National Park recently.

For the TTB new boss, the priority involves identifying new tourism products and experiences, improving infrastructure and working with stakeholders to ensure sustainable tourism development.

He insisted about setting standards for tourism services, promoting responsible tourism practices and ensuring the industry operates in a sustainable and ethical manner.

He also urged the need to improve policy related to tourism industry, for it to go abreast with the advanced changes across the globe.

He was also aware that low levels of advertisement and promotions have made people unaware of the existence of tourist attractions in the country, reducing the number of intending visitors and tourists.

He also expressed awareness on the inadequate supply of skilled manpower to handle wildlife and hotel management tourists, saying this has negatively affected the quality of customer service rendered to tourists.

Mr Mafuru said Tanzania is a truly magnificent country, packed with unspoiled environment and a variety of national parks.

The landscape of Tanzania is broad and fascinating. It is endowed with humid rainforests, snowy mountain peaks and everything in between, it’s a varied nation that plays host to so much biodiversity.

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Tanzanian people are friendly and welcoming, and their culture is rich and fascinating and it was crucial to maximise from all these aspects and potential for the country to earn maximum benefits of its own resources.

Already, Mr Mafuru is leading transformation at TTB, for it to work tirelessly to meet the country’s objective of attracting five million tourists, who will bring into the government coffers 6 billion US dollars (about 15tri/-) come 2025.

“There are a number of initiatives we are taking right now, which includes coming up with new products and vibrant destination marketing. “It is high time now we commercialised the aspect of Tanzanians being friendly people and extensively market the culture of our people as a new package in hospitality industry,” noted Mafuru.

“One of our primary functions is to market and promote the country as a tourist destination to both domestic and international travellers. This involves creating marketing campaigns, advertising and promotional activities to showcase the country’s attractions, culture, heritage and unique selling points.

We will vigorously undertake this task, adding products like theme parks, cultural, conference tourism, sports and medical tourism in our menu.

It is unfortunate that we have not done enough in these areas,” he said. He said media is responsible for supporting the promotion of tourism industry from lower to the national level.

In fact, adding creativity to tourism has become a common diversification strategy, particularly in the field of cultural tourism.

Developing new events and festivals, regenerating old buildings and adding animation to static attractions have become commonplace and this is the way Mr Mafuru thinks the country must go.

In fact, Mafuru said in two weeks’ time, a group of tour operators from China will come into the country who seek for introduction of direct charter flight from big cities in China to Tanzania.

“We have ATCL (Air Tanzania Company Limited) plying Guangzhou route three times a week, but there is no harm for code sharing, to increase the number of flights and tourists from China, where we can take a fraction from over 100 million Chinese tourists, who visit various parts of the world.

“The problem we face to attracting tourists from China at the moment is accessibility…one is forced to take longer routes and stopovers to come to Tanzania. You spend almost 20 hours to arrive in Tanzania. This is very tiring and not healthy in terms of attracting tourists especially “luxury travelers.”

“There is also an element of negative campaign on pricing issue that must be swiftly addressed. Some tour operators are saying that Tanzania is too expensive, I quizzed and demanded them to provide detailed cost structure for a tourist coming to Tanzania but they failed to respond to this query.

This made me realise that within the industry, there are unscrupulous individuals who portray Tanzania as an expensive destination for their own benefits. We, especially the media must stand out and say the truth,” said Mafuru.

He said in Tanzania, cost for a tourist from East Africa to have access to the National Parks stands at 10,000/-, compared to Kenya’s 20,000/- , while South Africa is more expensive.

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