“Tanzania has unveiled nine new cultural tourism sites across the East African nation with more than 120 major tribes,” an official has said.
The new cultural tourism enterprises (CTEs) are being coordinated by the Tanzania Tourist Board (TTB) through its arm Cultural Tourism Program (CTP).
The CTP Coordinator Elirehema Maturo said that the new sites made a total of 60 CTEs in the country, in which visitors take time to experience local cultures, the people, the environment and the traditions that are delicate and unique. “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,” Maturo said, adding that sustainable pro-poor tourism goes well beyond ecotourism and community based tourism.
“This is also an approach that attempts to maximize the potential of tourism for eradicating poverty by developing appropriate strategies in cooperation with all major groups, stakeholders, central government, local governments, tourism operators and local communities to have a fair distribution of benefits,” he said.
According to the tourism expert, the CTEs offer visitors the opportunity to leave the safari vehicle behind and spend time in local villages interacting with the people.
Nkasiyoi Pallangyo from the Ee-yeiyo cultural center on the foothills of Mount Meru supports the TTB idea of promoting cultural tourism.
“As players, we’re welcoming the TTB initiative, because it meant to promote the tourism sub-sector,” he said.
Pallangyo said CTEs provide visitors with an authentic cultural experience and a unique insight into the daily lives of the local people.
Asanteeli Meuta, a renowned Tanzania’s tourism expert, also suggested the need for the tourist destinations to be diversified.
“It’s not healthy for the sector to rely on wildlife only, when the country has countless tourist destinations which are yet to be explored.” He cited cultural tourism as an area which hasn’t tapped, discouraging the high concentration on wildlife tourism.
The newly unveiled sites include Bujora Cultural Tourism Enterprise, Ukerewe Cultural Tourism Enterprise and Kisesa Cultural Tourism Enterprise, all in the Lake Zone region of Mwanza.
Other CTEs include those located on the slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro such as Kiliman Cultural Tourism Enterprise, Rau Eco and Cultural Tourism Enterprise and Lyamungo, while Arusha region has Meru Forest Eco-Tourism and Momela Cultural Tourism and Campsite.
In southern Tanzania’s region of Ruvuma, there are Liuli- Pomonda Cultural Tourism Enterprise and Mbamba Bay.