Preserving Tanzania’s wonders through sustainable tourism

…Ambassador Mavura welcomes Korean travel creators’ visit to Tanzania

TANZANIAN Ambassador to Korea Togolani Edriss Mavura is pleased to see two Korean travel creators presenting his country in unique ways, as they discovered their different experiences with the various charms of Tanzania.

According to The Korea Times, as part of “Earth Marble World Tour,” a travel game show produced by director Kim Tae-ho, Korean travel creators Pani Bottle and KWAKTUBE visited Tanzania by throwing dice to determine their next destination, similar to the Korean board game Blue Marble or the more widely known Monopoly.

While the game led them to the same place, they took different paths and explored different parts of the country to showcase its versatile charms. KWAKTUBE headed to the Tanzanian island of Zanzibar and took a boat tour, while Pani Bottle made a trip to the Chemka Hot Springs in Moshi in the Kilimanjaro region.

Ambassador Mavura said the creators went to Tanzania without the knowledge of his embassy and he heard about the programme when a friend sent him a link to the videos.

“We didn’t prepare anything, but I’m grateful for them to have gone to my country naturally and discover it,” he told The Korea Times at his office in central Seoul, Tuesday.

The Tanzanian ambassador expressed his support for private Korean initiatives to explore his country and share their experiences with the Korean community.

“The difference I see between us promoting Tanzania as a destination in Korea and Koreans doing so is that Koreans understand what is interesting to the Korean community and they better communicate it in their own language,” he said. “I was also learning through the (YouTube videos) what I wouldn’t notice in my country.”

The ambassador appreciated the message of not needing extensive preparations for travel to Tanzania from the show.

“They had a few days so they couldn’t explore much, but one thing I liked about it was that it was very spontaneous. They could just roll the dice and travel to my country easily. They didn’t have to make six months of preparations. They just went in and were able to do everything,” Mavura said.

“I see the cultural difference. Koreans plans things ahead and want to have all the details beforehand for the (travel) day. For those who wants to make a quick travel ― I think that’s the message the program was sending ― you don’t have to have all these six months preparations. You can just wake up in the morning and say, ‘You know what? I think I’m tired. I’m going to Tanzania tomorrow,’ and you can be in Tanzania tomorrow.”

Currently, tourists from Korea can apply for a visa to Tanzania online in advance or obtain it upon arrival, allowing for unplanned trips.

He was also satisfied with the picturesque views of Tanzania that the two creators were able to capture, from the clear waters to the balmy skies, and introduced the country’s commitment to preserving its beautiful environment.

“Zanzibar is now doing a campaign called Greener Zanzibar. We want to have sustainable tourism ― tourism that preserves the culture and the nature, and tourism that goes in line with climate change. So we want to go greener in everything. For example, we plan to change boats to electric boats, instead of fuel-generated boats,” Mavura said.

The campaign highlights the importance of finding a balance between environmental, economic and socio-cultural aspects of tourism. It involves endeavors to utilize solar and wind energy and to adopt sustainable methods for water consumption.

“We want to make it a place where people go and experience nature, a place where people will preserve the environment and a place where people contribute for Zanzibar’s greener path. That message was very well in the program.”

Ambassador Mavura also noted the high level of security and safety of Tanzania shown in the video clips.

“These two young Koreans just get into the city and just simply take taxi from the airport to the hotel. They were moving around freely, showing the level of safety,” he said.

“I want to assure Korean tourists that Tanzania is one of the safest countries in Afria that has enjoyed interrupted peace for over 60 years. Tanzania is open for tourists of all kind. That’s why we are receiving 1 million plus tourists from all over the world a year.”

Both travel creators, Pani Bottle and KWAKTUBE, can be seen negotiating with locals in their videos, for example when trying to get a ride. KWAKTUBE expresses his concerns about being taken advantage of by locals in his video, but the ambassador pointed out that bargaining is a common practice in Tanzania.

“I thought something they did not capture so well because of the cultural differences is pricing,” the ambassador said, explaining that the region is a mixture of African, Arab, Indian and Portuguese cultures.

“So for the people of the coast region everything is negotiable. For us negotiation is part of building relationships, not about transaction ― like I pay you, you give me back ― and we enjoy conversations. Prices are usually not set in the streets. Even if I go to the street and ask the price, they give me the higher price because they know the culture that people will negotiate.”

Tanzania also opened up its properties for foreign investment in tourism infrastructure and the embassy is promoting the opportunities in Korea to attract more Korean tourists to the East African country.

“It’s a question of egg and chicken. Should we have a Korean hotel investment first so more Koreans can come to Korea or should we have more Korean tourists to increase investment from Korean companies?” he said.

“Either way, we need Korean investment in tourism. And I think there’s a lot of opportunities especially for greener tourism in Tanzania.”

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