What sustainable tourism entails

TOURISM stakeholders have expressed mixed views on how to realise the envisioned concept of Sustainable Tourism as Tanzania gears to receive five million tourists, come 2025.

The players, who were speaking separately at a Sustainable Tourism Roundtable hosted by the European Union Business Group (EUBG) here midweek rooted for the protection of wildlife corridors if the country wants to achieve the concept.

Tanzania National Parks (TANAPA) Conservation Commissioner, William Mwakilema observed that it was important for conservation agencies to closely engage communities in securing wildlife corridors.

“If we do not protect corridors, then we are all liable to genetic cut offs,” warned the conservation expert.

Putting it into context, Mr Mwakilema said Arusha National Park (ANAPA) used to be connected with Amboseli National Park through Tarangire National Park, with King’ori Ward being the wildlife corridor.

“This is no longer the case as animals are now confined to one area,” he explained.

Sustainable Tourism refers to sustainable practices in and by the tourism industry.

It is an aspiration to acknowledge all impacts of tourism, both positive and negative.

It aims to minimise the negative impacts and maximise the positive ones.

Dr Gladstone Mlay, the Tanzania Tourist Board (TTB) Acting Marketing Director on his part said sustainable tourism called for concerted efforts from stakeholders.

Dr Mlay was categorical that the board was hinging on Cultural Tourism Enterprises (CTEs) in achieving sustainable tourism.

“Mindful of its importance, TTB is now promoting CTEs through working closely with the private sector,” opined Dr Mlay.

He further revealed that TTB had hired a Canadian expert to promote such an initiative.

CTEs operate as a total set of products that involve different cultural and natural attractions, activities and provision of services in a given local community and aim at providing employment and income generating opportunities to local communities in rural areas of Tanzania.

For Breakthrough Attorneys senior partner, Kheri Mbiro, communities need to be empowered and involved in the quest for sustainable tourism.

He said: “While giving licences to investors, communities need to be brought on board.”

Mr Mbiro also took issue with some of the existing laws in the country, arguing that they were ancient and needed to be updated.

“For instance, the Public-Private Partnership Act needs some bit of amendment,” he added.

In his sentiments, Dr Maswet Masinda from the National College of Tourism Arusha, rooted for clear policies to achieve sustainable tourism.

Dr Masinda said it was equally important to have a guideline on how the private sector utilises resources.

The National College of Tourism senior official also pushed for the country to have its own accreditation in promoting and marketing Tanzania, as a destination.

“We also need to explore other tourism products,” he suggested.

During the roundtable discussion, stakeholders delved into the question of the meaning of sustainable tourism and presented recommendations identifying potential areas for public and private sector to collaborate.

They also highlighted the importance of showcasing tourism’s benefit to the local communities, interventions on solid waste management in national parks, tree planting for zero carbon and reduction of plastic bottle usage.

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