Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Tanzania: Boost for Cultural Tourism As Lodge Gets Global Recognition

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Kilimanjaro - A South Pare Mountains based cultural mountain lodge has received global recognition, a boost to cultural tourism in Tanzania.

The World Quality Commitment Award (WQC) 2016/7 has been granted to Tona Lodge after reaching the set out criteria by the Madrid-based institution, named BID (Business Initiative Directions).

In a letter sent to the Tanzania Tourist Board (TTB) and copied to Tona Lodge by Tanzania Embassy in Paris, it is noted that the Award is given to companies, organisations, institutions and individuals in recognition for their quality of service, innovation, and improvement symbolising a success in the business.

The founder of the lodge, Mr Elly Kimbwereza, and the coordinator of South Pare Tourism Cultural Centre accepting the award noted that the potential of cultural tourism in Tanzania was so huge, and time has come for it to be embraced as a mainstream one instead of being sidelined.

He said it was gratifying to receive WQC, saying it was a testimony that cultural tourism was being taken seriously.

He said the award means that nature-based tourism could contribute to social, economic and environmental benefits.

"I have always insisted that cultural tourism is one of the alternatives to rapacious resource extraction. It could earn the desperately sought income and bring in revenues to properly managed villages and protected areas in the Southern Pare," he said.

There are many hurdles to promotion of cultural tourism in Tanzania despite the abundance in cultural tourism, it is one of the most unheralded and untapped tourist destination, he noted.

To get the award Tona lodge has shown efforts to enhance better understanding among people in the Pare Mountains and directed more awareness on the great cultural heritage and civilisation that values traditions and cultures of the local people as a tool for fighting poverty and elevate the living standards of village people, noted Mr Kimbwereza.

"We started cultural tourism in Pare Mountains two decades ago, some people thought it was crazy," he said.

The award goes a long way to vindicate those of us who have been advocating for this kind of tourism that is truly socially responsible, Mr Kimbwereza noted.

The goal of cultural tourism is not just to promote our villages to the rest of the world but also to promote the assets of the nation internally and create a consensus for national development.

Mr Kimbwereza also sees a successful cultural tourism sector as creating a positive image in broader terms,which in turn can stimulate investment in other sectors.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Tanzania to Air new Tourism TV Channel Overseas

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TANZANIA plans to take the country’s proposed television tourism channel dubbed ‘Utalii Channel,’ which is set to be launched at the end of this year, to all major television stations across Asia and Europe, it was revealed in Arusha.

The anticipated tourism channel will start as free-to-air but later on it will be shipped to other digital top boxes operating on the backbone of major stations across the globe,” said the Managing Editor of the Tanzania Broadcasting Corporation (TBC), Dr Ayoub Rioba.

He was addressing stakeholders at one of the series of meetings held at the Arusha International Conference Centre (AICC), to lay ground works for the proposed Utalii Channel, soon to air as third bouquet from the State broadcaster’s television offerings.

The idea for the Channel was hatched by President John Magufuli during the Head of State’s visit to TBC offices last May, when he suggested that the national broadcaster establish a tourism and wildlife television channel. The ‘Utalii Channel,’ is being produced between the Tanzania National Park (TANAPA), the Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority (NCAA), the Tanzania Tourist Board (TTB) and the host, TBC.

Mr Assangye Bangu the Deputy Conservator at the NCAA said the channel will offer ‘edutainment,’ packages that will help to simplify tourism, conservation and wildlife protection in attractive style.

“For the people abroad, the channel will showcase our local attractions and for Tanzanians it will be the source of information and education on wildlife and natural resources protection,” said Mr Bangu. The Tanzania Tourist Board’s Principal Information Officer, Mr Geoffrey Erneo Tengeneza, said once the channel gets injected to all top-boxes around the globe, it will ease the board the cost and pain of trying to push promotional materials to a number of outlets in various countries. Tanzania gets around 1.3 million tourists every year.

Most of the country’s foreign visitors prefer to sample the rich wildlife and exotic scenery, but it is believed that as soon as the Utalii channel sails, even the cultural aspect of Tanzania’s tourism will take effect.

The meeting involved people from the tourism, conferencing and hospitality industries, in the country, who took the opportunity to give their own opinions and contributions aimed at making the channel a successful output.

The country’s 16 National Parks, over 20 Game Reserves, a Conservation Area Authority, attractive landscapes, rich cultures and traditional practices are to form endless ingredients to the country’s first tourism channel.

But Dr Rioba warned: “This channel may help to increase the number of foreign visitors into the country, but again the attractive things they see on screen should reflect the reality once they land here,” he said.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Namibian Tourism industry set to Expand

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Windhoek - Namibia, long famous for its giant sand dunes and more recently as the birthplace of Angelina Jolie's baby, is now southern Africa's fastest-growing tourism market, the World Travel and Tourism Council said on Thursday.

"You are now forecast to be growing almost twice as fast as your neighbours. That's a very exciting opportunity," WTTC Vice President Richard Miller told an industry group, detailing the results of a survey of Namibia's tourism potential.

The WTTC, a global forum for tourism professionals, said Namibia's tourism real annual growth was projected at more than nine percent over the next decade, putting it ahead of other regional stars including Botswana, South Africa and Tanzania.

Tourism already contributes 16 percent to Namibia's gross domestic product and was expected to account for more than 18 000 jobs, or 4.7 percent of total employment in Namibia, in 2006, the WTTC study said.

"You are the fourth-fastest travel and tourism industry now in the world, that is a very high objective and I hope you will achieve it," Miller said.

Namibia has not in the past kept separate records of tourism earnings, making real growth hard to calculate.

But the country has set its sights on rapidly expanding its tourism offerings, which include vast game reserves, deserted Atlantic beaches, some of the world's highest sand dunes and proximity to South Africa, host of the 2010 Soccer World Cup.

Namibia got a publicity boost earlier this year when Hollywood stars Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt chose the country for the birth of their daughter Shiloh Nouvel - sparking a media scramble that put Namibia on the front pages of celebrity magazines around the globe.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Tanzania Greenlights Hydrolelctric Plant In World Heritage Game Reserve

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President John Magufuli has called for bids on a 2,100-megawatt hydroelectric plant to be built in a World Heritage site renowned for its animal populations.

The project in the UNESCO-designated Selous Game Reserve would more than double the country’s power generation capacity, ending chronic electricity shortages.

The Energy and Minerals Ministry said it expected construction of the power plant to be completed within three years. Experts from Ethiopia, which is also building new hydro-electric dams, will advise the government on the project.

But construction of a dam in a major river that runs through the Selous Game Reserve could affect wildlife and their habitats downstream, in one of the largest protected areas in Africa, according to UNESCO. It is known for its elephants, black rhinoceroses and giraffes, among many other species.

“Selous is the only site in southern Tanzania to have been awarded World Heritage status,” added the World Wildlife (WWF) group in a report titled “6 things to know about Tanzania’s largest protected area – and why we save it.” This means it has “natural significance which is so exceptional as to transcend national boundaries and be of common importance for present and future generations of humanity.”

Further, the project threatens existing wetlands and could harm the present livelihoods of more than 200,000 residents reliant on fishing downstream of the intended dam.

The government has also been criticized by environmental groups for granting Australia-based miner Mantra Resources rights to build a $400 million uranium mine in the sanctuary.

According to the Tanzania Tourism website, Selous Game Reserve is Africa’s largest and oldest game reserve and one of its most scenic wildlife destinations. Covering 50,000 square kilometres, it is amongst the largest protected areas in Africa and hosts over 350 species of birds and reptiles.

Tanzania’s President John Magufuli, defending the project, said the dam and resulting reservoir would cover only 3 percent of the Selous, adding he would not listen to detractors who spoke “without facts.” The dam would be built “come rain, come sun,” he said.

WWF called on Tanzania’s government to consider alternative ways to generate electricity, which currently reaches few rural residents.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Tanzania: TTB - Sino-Dar Flights Would Propel Tourism.



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Tanzania Tourist Board (TTB) has underscored the need for direct flights from Tanzania to China, to attract more Chinese tourists and reduce the costs emanating from connecting flights.

TTB's Board Chairman, Retired Judge Thomas Mihayo, said here yesterday that the rising number of tourists from China would largely depend on reliable and affordable air links between the two countries.

"It is now evident that there is a good number of tourists coming from China. Something must be done to revitalize trade links and strategic attractions of tourists from China," Judge Mihayo explained, stressing Tanzania's endowment with abundant tourist attractions.

He said tourism was potentially one of the country's leading economic drivers, which, if tapped fully, would contribute significantly to national economic growth and development.

Speaking shortly after winding up a tour of Ngorongoro Conservation Area and Manyara National Park by senior Chinese journalists, Judge Mihayo said the pace of tourists coming from China was encouraging. "The visit by these journalists is yet another opportunity for us to promote our tourist attractions.

I hope you are going to be our good ambassadors to your country and beyond," he said, recalling that the two countries share a long-time historical friendship.

He also called on local councils and investors to build hotels in areas in which tourist attractions are located, and join hands in solving infrastructure related problems.

Earlier, the TTB Managing Director, Ms Devota Mdachi, said the journalists' visit was part of the board's efforts to promote tourist attractions and enhance the flow of tourists to the country.

"They (journalists) have been highly impressed by our tourist attractions and promised to be good ambassadors when they return home," the TTB boss said.

Speaking on behalf of his colleagues, Mr.  Kang Bing, from Daily Media Group, said Tanzania had everything regarding tourism.

"We visited several places, including Ngorongoro Conservation Area and Manyara National Park where we saw a variety of fascinating birds," Mr.  Bing explained. He promised that they would be good ambassadors of Tanzania's unique tourist attractions through their reportage in print and electronic media outlets.

"The challenge we experienced is that there should be direct flights from Tanzania to China.

Many Chinese have shown interest to come to this beautiful country," Mr.  Bing said.

The journalists were from Beijing Press Group, China Daily, International Liaison Department, English news service, and China Radio International.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Arusha -Tanzania mulls new national tourism policy

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ARUSHA, Tanzania has started formulating a new National Tourism Policy to replace the old one which has existed for 18 years and does not conform with the latest development in the tourism sector, an official said on Thursday.

Aloyce Nzuki, Tanzania's deputy permanent secretary in the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism, revealed this when he met with stakeholders who had gathered here to review the National Tourism Policy of 1999.

He noted that drafting of the new National Tourism Policy will consider issues on Conference Tourism, Historical and Cultural Heritage Sites, Eco-Tourism, Beach Tourism and Tourism Supply Chain, among others.

According to Nzuki, for many years, Tanzanian tourism sector has banked heavily on wildlife-based safaris, forgetting that the world is changing and people need other attractions such as cultural tourism, visiting historical sites, eco-tourism, conference tourism and water-based visits featuring beach lazing and sun basking.

He said: "In the new policy, we will see how the public sector can be involved in the tourism business, especially in the hospitality department like accommodation."

He added that Tanzanian government can lead in building hotels to be run by internationally recognized chains.

Nzuki argued that currently, the government is losing a lot of money to international tourist coordination organization who book hotels for tourists but do not remit all money in the country.

"We're currently reviewing the 1999 National Tourism Policy to come up with a new document that will serve as a guideline towards improving the country's tourism industry in the coming years," the official stressed.

Nzuki revealed that tourism sector contribution to the national economy is quite great, saying it contributes 17.5 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and 25 percent of the nation's foreign exchange.

He said the ongoing review of the policy is under the consultancy of the Tanzania's policy research think tank, Economic and Social Research Foundation (ESRF) through the funding from the World Bank.

Raphael Mwalyosi from ESRF observed that the new policy would take in account different forms of tourism.

"The 1999 policy even causes conflicts between institutions within the tourism sector and entire natural resources and tourism ministry, thus the need for a new document," he said.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Leading Elephant Conservationist Shot Dead in Tanzania

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Wayne Lotter had received numerous death threats while battling international ivory-trafficking networks.

The head of an animal conservation NGO who had received numerous death threats has been shot and killed by an unknown gunman in Tanzania. Wayne Lotter, 51, was shot on Wednesday evening in the Masaki district of the city of Dar es Salaam. The wildlife conservationist was being driven from the airport to his hotel when his taxi was stopped by another vehicle. Two men, one armed with a gun opened his car door and shot him.

Lotter was a director and co-founder of the PAMS Foundation, an NGO that provides conservation and anti-poaching support to communities and governments in Africa. Since starting the organisation in Tanzania in 2009, he had received numerous death threats relating to his work.

Police in Tanzania have launched an investigation into his death.

The PAMS Foundation funded and supported Tanzania’s elite anti-poaching National and Transnational Serious Crimes Investigation Unit (NTSCIU) which was responsible for arrests of major ivory traffickers including Yang Feng Glan, the so-called “Queen of Ivory” and several other notorious elephant poachers. Since 2012, the unit has arrested more than 2,000 poachers and ivory traffickers and has a conviction rate of 80%. The NTSCIU was recently featured in the Netflix documentary The Ivory Game. In a previous interview, Lotter said he believed its work had helped to reduce poaching rates in Tanzania by at least 50%.

The latest elephant census data suggests that elephant populations fell by 30% in Africa between 2007 and 2014. Tanzania experienced one of the biggest declines in elephant numbers, where the census documented a 60% decrease in the population.

Lotter rarely took credit for PAMS’ success in helping reduce poaching rates in Tanzania, and was always quick to credit the work of the communities and agencies he worked with.

Lotter was a big figure in the international conservation community, having served on the boards of several conservation groups and was the Vice President of the International Ranger Federation. The news of his death has sent the community into mourning. “Wayne was one of Africa’s leading and most committed conservationists. He had over two decades worth of experience in wildlife management and conservation, and can be credited as the driving force behind ending the unscrupulous slaughter of Tanzania’s elephants,” said Azzedine Downes, CEO of the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW).

“Wayne devoted his life to Africa’s wildlife. From working as a ranger in his native South Africa as a young man to leading the charge against poaching in Tanzania, Wayne cared deeply about the people and animals that populate this world,” read a statement released by the PAMS Foundation team. “Wayne’s charm, brilliance and eccentric sense of humour gave him the unique ability to make those around him constantly laugh and smile. He died bravely fighting for the cause he was most passionate about.

“Wayne leaves behind his wife Inge, daughters Cara Jayne and Tamsin, and parents Vera and Charles Lotter. We all grieve with his family, colleagues and friends. His legacy will continue in our work.”