Tanzania had to define its cultural tourism product
to be more precise. In the Tanzania context however, cultural tourism
adopts a community-based tourism approach in which the people are
directly involved in designing, organizing tours and showing tourists
aspects of their lives in the area they live in. While economic
benefit is derived from this activity, some cross cultural exchange
between visitors and the local people is also developed. Operated
through the criteria of ownership of the activities undertaken and
equitable distribution of the income generated are underlying factors
of the programme. It is people tourism that enables tourists to
experience the local people’s way of life, offering insights
into the values, beliefs and traditions in the host communities’
The aim was and is to develop and promote cultural excursions, organized
by local people in their natural environment where they live today.
Cultural Tourism development took an approach of Sustainable Pro-poor
Tourism. This is a way of doing tourism so that it focuses specifically
on unlocking opportunities for the poor to benefit more within tourism,
rather than expanding the overall size of the sector. Sustainable
Pro-poor Tourism goes well beyond ecotourism and community based
tourism. It is an approach that attempts to maximize the potential
of tourism for eradicating poverty by developing appropriate strategies
in co-operation with all major groups/stakeholders central government,
local governments, tourism operators, and local communities to have
a fair distribution of benefits.
Currently there are over 47 Cultural Tourism Enterprises (CTEs)
that TTB has helped establishing. Basically the 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. The CTEs provide employment and income generating opportunities
to local communities in rural areas of Tanzania hence decreasing
rural to urban areas migration. There have been approximately 20%
increases in arrivals yearly. Over the past 15 years Mto wa Mbu
Cultural Tourism Enterprise has realized a tenfold increment in
arrivals and revenues collected. Most CTEs focus on offering cultural
experiences including: experiencing people’s way of life,
traditional dances/ceremonies, sampling of local cuisines, home-stays,
daily homestead chores, handicrafts, community development initiatives,
indigenous knowledge, historical heritage, nature walks, and local
folklores. There are wishes for a geographical expansion and a diversification
of the Cultural Tourism products to guarantee a further growth of
Tanzania cultural tourism as an additional tourist product that
will enhance tourism local economic impact and increase the length
of stay of tourists in destination Tanzania.
Supporters for Cultural Tourism
Currently there are three main partners pushing the Cultural Tourism
initiative i.e. Tanzania Tourist Board through its Cultural tourism
Programme Unit in collaboration with the Ministry of Natural Resources
and Tourism with support from other support organizations such as
United Nations-World Tourism Organization Sustainable Tourism-Eliminating
Poverty ((UNWTO ST-EP) foundation, Tanzania Private Sector Foundation
(TPSF)-Cluster Competitiveness Programme (CCP), Food and Agricultural
Organization of the United Nations (FAO-UN) and Centre for Development
of Enterprises (CDE). In different times CTP was supported by The
Netherlands Development Organization (SNV) and International Union
for Conservation of Nature (IUCN-NL).
The Cultural Tourism Programme gives visitors to Tanzania the chance
to tour tribal areas to meet the people and experience their traditional
way of life. Through the programmes, visitors also experience indigenous
attractions and scenery of rural Tanzania.
It is a rewarding experience to leave the safari-car behind and
climb the mountains of the agricultural tribes of northern Tanzania
to see how coffee is grown by subsistence farmers or to walk across
the plains to explore the rich traditions of the pastoral tribes
whose culture is closely linked to nature and wildlife.
Still the visitor can follow the drumbeats and let the tribal dancers
of southern Tanzania interpret the music and performances the tribes
have inherited from their ancestors, or just go to the coast to
sense the history of the Swahili people of coastal Tanzania.
And for the visitors who want to meet fishermen, cultivators, local
minors, wildlife scouts, rainmakers and story-tellers, the land
between Serengeti and Lake Victoria is the place to be.
There is more in the cultural tourism programmes of Tanzania!