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The East African : Nov 24th 2014
The EastAfrican MAGAZINE NOVEMBER 22-28,2014 VII ultu≥al sites to avoid ext≥a cha≥ges the last country to impose “nuisance” taxes on tourists. According to Nyalando the cul- tural establishments along the Lake Natron route are a rare example of transferring tourists’ dollars to common people directly, with direct multiplier effects. Transferring dollars from interna- tional tourists to poor people living around tourist destinations has been a major challenge throughout East Africa and the world. Pro-poor Freddy Massawe, the chief execu- tive officer of the Tanzania Association of Cultural Tourism Organisers (Tacto) said that at the moment, cultural tourism destinations attract 30 per cent of the 1.2 million tourists who visit Tanzania’s wildlife-rich attractions annually. This means the segment is respon- sible for nearly 360,000 tourists, directly earning the people at the grassroots roughly $32.4 million annually, but Massawe sees this as a paltry amount in comparison with the potential. Looking beyond the numbers, experts say that this is a successful model that tour companies could borrow to transfer tourist dollars to the people at the grassroots. Massawe underscores the need for local tour operators to incorporate culture in their safari package in order to transfer more dollars to the local people. “Cultural tourism if well-developed But now the fees have unexpectedly made tourists vehicles give the village wide berth. A high ranking official with Enaresero Cultural Tourism project azaro Ndirima, says currently, the vehicles taking tourists to these cultural villages have fallen to six only from 15 per week on average, thus denying local people an opportunity to sell to their culture to tourists. “Last year we got 1,800 tourists ve- hicles earning us $45,000, but this year, we are not sure if they can reach 1,000 visitors because the tourists are simply not coming,” said Ndirima. The Lake Eyasi Cultural Project co-ordinator Joseph Nyamsagori has the same story, saying this year they projected to receive 2,500 tourists vehicles, but now he is not even sure if they will hit 1,000 vehicles. Reform Natural Resources and Tourism on in sight un u h eg t nted to look into the matter that d be negatively impacted if they n d s iimposed on tourists. uncils of Ngorongoro, Longido, have rejected a proposal by gional Commissioner Magessa the charges. The authorities n appointed by the Regional Minister Lazaro Nyalandu pledges to come up with sweeping reforms in the structure of tourists fees outside national and game parks. “We need tourists to spend more days in Tanzania. We cannot afford to let every Tom, Dick, and Harry wake up one morning and erect a barrier on the road to collect money from tourists,” said Nyalandu. He argues that with the current challenges of Ebola and international terrorism, Tanzania should be can attract millions of tourists to our country given the cultural diversity we have,” he said, adding that countries such as France, Egypt and Morocco rely on cultural tourism solely and have attracted millions of tourists. For instance, he says, French cul- tural tourism attracted 87.3 million international tourists in 2013, with Egypt receiving 9.1 million and Morocco 10 million visitors, generating billions of dollars for the economy. “In Tanzania, multiple taxes imposed by inter-sectoral Acts frustrate efforts to unlock our cultural tourism potential,” Massawe noted, stressing that in certain instances, local government authorities raise tourism levies without considering their impact. He argues that cultural tourism if well developed can generate employment for thousands of youths and women as well as bringing in forforeign currency. More importantly, it can also be used to combat poaching, as communities will see the benefits of tourism, he said. Growing at a steady rate for the past two years, Tanzania tourism is now booming with latest data confirming the industry as Tanzania’s top foreign currency earner uotshining gold. Fresh figures from the central bank indicate that tourism brought in $1.973 billion during the year end- Natural Resources and Tourism minister Lazaro Nyalandu pledges to come up with sweeping reforms in the structure of tourists fees outside national and game parks. “We need tourists to spend more days in Tanzania. We cannot afford to let every Tom, Dick, and Harry wake up one morning and erect a barrier on the road to collect money from tourists,” said Nyalandu. He argues that with the current challenges of Ebola and international terrorism, Tanzania should be the last country to impose any “nuisance” taxes on tourists. Selling of curios is one of the major income-generating part of cultural tourism projects. Pictures: File The number of visitors also in- creased over the same period to a record one million from 230,000, creating direct employment to 156,500 Tanzanians. The reported number of tourists who visited Tanzania in 2012 and 2013 places the country as one of the eading African safari destinations recording over a million visitors per year. Other African tourist destinations attracting one million or above tour- ed June 2014, up from $1.757 billion earned in the previous corresponding year. Recent statistics show that earn- ings from the Tanzanian tourism industry increased to $1.88 billion in 2013 from $200 million in 1993. ists a year are Kenya, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and South Africa.
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