Makwaia Wa Kuhenga

THOSE following TV proceedings of the meeting of representatives of the Tanzanian private sector in the intervening period must have found remarks by the Tanzanian Prime Minister, Kassim Majaliwa, pertinent and reflective of what this country is missing: seriousness in promoting the country internationally in terms of tourism.

That this country is globally renowned for exceptionally attractive spots that could attract tourists from all over the world is a fact. It is in Tanzania that one finds one of the world’s highest mountains, the Kilimanjaro.

It is in this country that one finds the world’s highest concentration of wildlife, to mention but a few attractions. But it is also in this country, which hosted and trained members of liberation movements from Southern Africa during the reign of apartheid and minority rule.

Projecting the former bases of national liberation movements from Southern Africa could also be attractive to visitors to this country.

Listening to Prime Minister Majaliwa speak to members of the Tanzanian public sector early this week, it was greatly impressive to hear him express his dismay on the attitude of our relevant officials, who lack the competitive edge in the promotion of our globally renowned tourism spots both locally and internationally.

“When one lands at the Dar es Salaam International Airport one notes no promotion of any kind about our country’s tourist attractive features, nothing of any sort. There is nothing at the VIP lounge, nothing along the way from the airport into town,” observed the Prime Minister.

Now picking from the Prime Minister’s dismay, one could go even further. Within Dar es Salaam city itself, had our relevant officials been imaginative, they would have asked hotel owners, especially the leading ones, to put up promotions somewhere in their respective hotels’ vicinity.

Pictures of remarkable animals in the Ngorongoro crater such as the Giraffes and so forth would contain such tourist attraction promotions not forgetting Mount Kilimanjaro.

As suggested at the launch of this perspective, this country is renowned for its principled decisive support for national liberation movements. The African National Congress (ANC) of South Africa had a base in Mazimbu, Morogoro and office along Nkrumah Street in Dar es Salaam.

This spot is very well known to South Africans and other people elsewhere. Right at the place where the base was located, by now there should have been a signpost, maybe decorated with the picture of the father of the South African nation, Madiba Nelson Mandela.

I am sure the current South African President who has been visiting us, would have asked to be taken to Mazimbu or the spot would have been on his programme without his asking! Many South Africans, one is sure, especially of the new generation, now being told of the liberation process by their elders would have a visit to Mazimbu on their agenda.

It is not only South Africa’s ANC which was hosted by this country, one remembers FRELIMO of Mozambique and MPLA of Angola whose freedom fighters were here during their epic struggle for liberation. Their former offices would be interesting to their respective nationals to be visited.

These are spots that certainly could be interesting to other people elsewhere in the world. But we seem to be in a long sleep – not to waking up to realize the economic potential our country has in terms of tourism.

Only the other day, I wrote about a neighboring country, which has been busy putting up promotions, supported by some western news agencies that Mount Kilimanjaro is in that country! Fortunately, our national airline, Air Tanzania has been re-activated.

One clearly sees the writing close to the wings of the aircraft: AIR TANZANIA – LAND OF THE KILIMANJARO. Excellent! This is as it should be.

In the words of Prime Minister Majaliwa, Tanzanian ambassadors abroad have clear instruction to seize all opportunities to promote the country in terms of tourism. One hopes our embassies abroad do assume their roles sufficiently and energetically to promote the country in terms of its tourism potential.

On this thrust, one would wish an even greater support to our national airline so that it is able to globe trot to ferry people from far afield in Europe, Asia and America because a direct flight is more attractive, much more to people who long to visit a given country like ours.

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