"Everything in Africa bites…but the safari bug is worst of all" - Brian Jackman
The names on the left evoke romantic and magical images of Tanzania, and they are all popular buzzwords for the country's rapidly growing tourism industry. Tanzania is a place densely populated with natural wonders, intriguing culture, and friendly locals. Not to mention that it is home to the cradle of mankind, Olduvai Gorge, as well as the tallest freestanding mountain in the world, Mt. Kilimanjaro, and the world's largest national park, Ruaha. Talk about an attractive tourist destination!
Tourism is the main driver of growth in developing nations, and Tanzania is no exception. Tanzania, the largest country in East Africa, has a specific focus on wildlife conservation and sustainable tourism. Approximately 28% of the land is protected by the government, with 15 national parks and 33 game reserves. This beautiful country also boasts seven World Heritage sites, so it is no surprise that the tourism industry is booming. Tourism has surpassed Agriculture as Tanzania's largest economic sector and nearly triples the GDP of Agriculture.
Tourism in Tanzania has contributed to economic growth, employment, and poverty reduction. Increased air access, new luxury hotels on the Mainland and Zanzibar, improved infrastructure and road on safari circuits are major factors contributing to Tanzania tourism's success story, according to Africa Travel Magazine. Additionally, we can attribute this economic growth to Tanzania's peaceful environment and historically stable government.
Authors Kinyondo and Pelizzo (2015) argue that there are three sets of factors affecting tourism-induced growth: foreign ownership, vertical integration, and inadequate compensation for workers employed in the tourism sector. Oftentimes, international tour operators use their own flights, their own means of transport, their own hotels and resorts, etc., and thus little of the money that comes from tourism contributes to the local economy. Alternatively, because the industry employs unskilled workers who would otherwise have difficulty finding work, it helps alleviate poverty and reduces income inequality, thus contributing to economic growth. Though tourism is sometimes exploitive and low paying and the "benefits of the tourism business are often enjoyed by international economic actors and not by local actors," it is helping Tanzania as a whole to combat poverty (Kinyondo and Pelizzo 2015: 76). But how do we make sure that more Tanzanians reap the benefits of international tourism in their country? The authors suggest that Tanzanians themselves should run more tourist operations, and that women and men should receive fair wages for their work in the tourism sector. With the aforementioned policy changes, I would highly recommend the beautiful national parks of Tanzania to any eager safari travelers. It is a truly incredible place to be.
How does the wellbeing of the environment and the wildlife affect tourism? As word gets out about these amazing safari destinations, more tourists than ever are flocking to the region. While the economic growth is indubitably good for the country, what does that say about the changing realities for the wildlife tourist attraction? Read more here.