Members of the Tanzania Association of Cultural Tourism Organization (TACTO) recently met in Arusha to discuss, among other things, the role that the organization currently plays and will continue to play in conserving the cultural and natural diversity in the Tanzania tourism sector.
The meeting was attended by 28 participants who together represented 25 different TACTO members, all of whom recognize that, while they are all business enterprises, the ultimate sustainability of their business relies on the quality of the cultural and natural environment as well as on the resources that are linked to the inputs and outputs of their respective businesses.
Because many of the business opportunities in the rural areas rely on the availability of cultural and natural resources, members of the TACTO organization are required to conserve a variety of cultural and natural resources.
In addition, because members of the TACTO organization are private enterprises, they practice efficient usage of cultural and natural resources and encourage the rural communities to conserve cultural and natural diversity by paying a village development tax for the use of resources.
Frequent visits to these rural areas to assess the quality of the resources help TACTO members to effectively monitor the resources and report any destruction to the appropriate authorities.
The TACTO organization and its initiatives are supported by a number of local and international organizations, including the SNV in Tanzania, which has been a constant supporter for the development of the Tanzania Cultural Tourism Program for decades.
The SNV in Tanzania has worked in association with the Tanzania Tourist Board (TTB) and has recently sponsored a study to help determine the financial benefits that are created for community members by the tourism industry.
Another international organization that has played a significant role in supporting the TACTO is the World Bank, which has recently sponsored a seminar that was designed to expose the “Market Access to Cultural Tourism Product.”
In addition, the UN World Tourism Organization also recently sponsored a five-day business management training for members of the TACTO organization.
Other organizations include the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN), which supplied funding to facilitate a project by the Pangani Cultural Tourism Enterprise that was designed to sensitize communities concerning the protection and safety of green turtles while, at the same time, East African Movies provides funding for the production of promotion materials for TACTO members.
As a result of the business management trainings, it has become clear that the TACTO organization and its members are in need of additional support, specifically regarding the value that is given to tourist attraction features as an element of their business activities.
Currently, official cultural tourism enterprises cover only six regions in the country, including Morogoro, Mbeya, Kilimanjaro, Arusha, Tanga and Manyara.
In order to continue successfully promoting cultural tourism throughout Tanzania, TACTO will need to acquire further support in order to better market their products.