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While on a tour in Tanzania, we learnt a lot. Although the tourism industry is still small, the country currently receives about 500,000 tourists every year. In addition, it has about 5,000 hotel rooms or lodge rooms that meet all the international standards (Tanzania et al. 2002, p. 62). Nonetheless, it is an important contributor of the economy, which accounts for about 10% of the gross national product (GDP). This represents 40% of the total foreign exchange earning received from export of goods and services (Matthews, 1992, p. 33). In Tanzania, international tourism is concentrated in the Northern Wildlife areas. These areas encompass Mt. Kilimanjaro, the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, the Serengeti, and Lake Manyara. For my tour in Tanzania, I went to Ngorongoro Conservation Area and Serengeti National Park (Spenceley, 2008, p. 281).
Serengeti National Park is about 14763 sq km (5,700 sq miles). It is located 208 miles (335 km) from Arusha. It stretches north to Kenya, which borders Lake Victoria to the west. It is one of the world's greatest wildlife refuges with the various types of vegetation. There are numerous savannahs with acacias, grassy plains, wooded hill and a mountain that is a backdrop for extraordinary concentration of wildlife (Shetle, 2007, p. 103). This reached its peak during the world wildebeest migration, which is among the wonders of the world. This is the most recent and it had never been experienced else where in the world. It was estimated that, about 1.5 million wildebeest undertook a 1000 kilometres circuit searching for new water holes and pastures. The word Serengeti comes from a Maasai word 'Siringet', which means endless plains. The Seronera Valley in the Serengeti National Park is well known for the abundance of leopards and lions (Entrican, 1995, p. 212).
The Ngorongoro Conservation Area (NCA) is the area in which conservation has been done. It is also the UNESCO World Heritage site, which is situated 112 miles (180 km) in the Crater Highlands in west of Arusha. I found that Ngorongoro is well known or popular for the conservation of wild life (Matthews, 1992, p. 34). The Ngorongoro Conservation Area (NCA) has over 25000 animals, which includes 26 black rhinoceros. There are 3000 grants, 3000 eland, 4000 zebras, 7000 wildebeests, and Thomson's gazelles. The crater in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area (NCA) is the densest with over 62 lions, 30 elephants, more than 4000 buffaloes, mountain reedbuck, cheetahs, rare wild dogs, jackals, spotted hyenas, rainforests of the crater rim, and other felines. There is the famous volcanic caldera, which lies in the area (Ngorongoro Crater) (Spenceley, 2008, p. 281).
Though the tourism in Tanzania, there are a few weaknesses or challenges we faced or tourists face. The major weakness is lack of infrastructure (Utz, 2008, p. 92). Most roads are impassable; hence, hotels in Tanzania are not well improved because of lack of roads or means of transport and communication. Accommodation is still a weakness because hotels or lodges are in the state of decay. There are only a few international standard hotels that exist in the country. It was a real challenge travelling from Arusha to Serengeti National park and Ngorongoro Conservation Area (NCA) through Lake Manyara (Entrican, 1995, p. 214).
The roads are dilapidated; hence, impassable though ewe had to persevere to reach where we were going. It is better to use airlines though it will not benefit them. Tourists want to look for all animals and any other tourist attraction on their way; hence, using aeroplanes will not help them. Most people prefer to fly back from Serengeti National Park and Ngorongoro Conservation Area (NCA) to Arusha because of the roads that are in bad condition (Shetle, 2007, p. 105). Tanzania tourism sector is loosing a lot of foreign exchanges because of poor roads because most people prefer to tour Kenya because of better roads. The roads represent the lost opportunities for both the tourists and industry because of the poor and impassable roads (Matthews, 1992, p. 35).
Many tourists are shying away because they do not want to risk their lives because the wild animals can attack when they are stuck on the pot holes and muddy roads when it rains. Many areas are unconneted and they are simply inaccessible (Utz, 2008, p. 93). In addition, there are no sign posts to direct tourists to the places they want to visit; hence, hampering their tour in the parks. The inter-country and international communication and coordination are extremely impassable and difficult sometimes. Water and power are frequently unavailable or inoperational making the lives and the stay of the tourists difficult and unbearable. The country is potential but infrastructural work is lacking (Entrican, 1995, p. 216).
The tourism management should address this issue by seeking an early intervention such as buying four-wheeled vehicles before the roads are improved by the government. Infrastructure will open up more opportunities such as attracting foreign investors to build lodging that can meet international standards (Shetle, 2007, p. 106). This is weakness because investors are shying away because of impassable roads and other communication networks that are not connected. The numbers of tourist have been reducing drastically because of poor infrastructure. This is the major weakness or challenge facing the tourism sector in Tanzania that should be addressed. For us to reach Serengeti National Park and Ngorongoro Conservation Area (NCA) was not easy. We had to persevere because we had paid and there are no refunds (Spenceley, 2008, p. 283).
The other challenge or weakness facing tourism sector in Tanzania is lack of trained staff or personnel. The staffs are not ready to meet the current increasing demands of tourists. The enrollment in the Hotel and Tourism Institute has reduced significantly; hence, cannot meet the increasing demand in the tourism industry (Shetle, 2007, p. 107). The quality of services in the accommodations rooms in the few hotels, which are available. The number of sub-par private schools and unregistered colleges are mushrooming up leading graduates who are not qualified, incompetent, and unmotivated. The standards of the training are low and uneven in country; hence, will not meet the expectations of the tourists who visit the national parks (Entrican, 1995, p. 217).
Furthermore, there is no education or training for the top management and the staff in the hotels, travel sector, restaurants, and lodgings. There are policies and procedures guiding all the objectives in the human resource development in tourism sector (Utz, 2008, p. 94). This is challenge or a weakness because most of the tourists are not satisfied with the services offered to them yet they pay for them heavily. Tanzania does not fully utilize the Utali College in Kenya. This college is well equipped with tourism and hotel training programs and Tanzanians should take advantage of it otherwise in the a few years, it will lead to reduced tourists both locally and internationally (Matthews, 1992, p. 36).
Human resources determine the success or the failure of the tourism sector in every country. This is a weakness in Tanzania because unqualified staffs are not motivated leading to poor quality services. The staffs are paid low wages and salaries; hence, some of them engage themselves fraud or corruption (Shetle, 2007, p. 108). They will posses negative attitude and motivation at the work place leading to low levels of professionalism and service delivery. In Serengeti National Park and Ngorongoro Conservation Area (NCA), there are poor services and lack of enthusiasm from the staffs in the restaurants and all accommodation sites. This is a weakness because it will create a gap with foreign tourist; hence, creating more problems (Spenceley, 2008, p. 285).
In addition, it will increase resentment not only to foreign tourists but also local citizens. This is a weakness because it will affect the public and diplomatic relations especially for those marketing and promoting tourism in other countries. Poor reception and lack of proper direction is a weakness that is making the tourism sector not to expand or grow in Tanzania like Kenya (Utz, 2008, p. 95).
In addition to poor infrastructure and lack of trained personnel, governmental and bureaucratic factor is another major weakness affecting tourism sector in Tanzania. There is no legal and regulatory framework guiding tourism sector (Tanzania et al. 2002, p.. 64). There is little coordination and communication among the relevant government ministries, authorities, non-government organizations (NGOs), and private sector actors. This is a weakness because the government should ease procedures because it has powers and authority to intervene (Entrican, 1995, p. 218).
The government is the main hindrance to the growth of tourism because it does not utilize its diplomatic relations to market for its tourism sector to the foreigners (Utz, 2008, p. 96). International and regional tourism linkage and connections are weak and there is no community participation and awareness does not exist; hence, there are no local citizens who visit these rich attractive sites and parks. Marketing and promotion has been neglected by the government because both the tourism divisions within TTB and MNRT have not been funded to stimulate growth of tourism (Matthews, 1992, p. 37).
To improve tourism in Tanzania, infrastructure should be improved. The roads and airstrips should be repaired to ease transportation and safety of tourists. Communication and coordination is important because it will be enhanced by improved infrastructure (Tanzania et al. 2002, p. 66). Tourists will be attracted to the country if the roads are improved because they are assured of their safety and comfort. The ministry and departments diversify the tourism products to include cultural, mountain climbing and beach tourism so that it does not depend only on safari tourism (Spenceley, 2008, p. 287).
To improve the quality of service delivery, the government should develop training institutions such as Utalii College in Kenya, which offer high standard programs on hotel, hospitality, and tourism management (Tanzania et al. 2002, p. 67). It will lead to development of qualified and competent workers who can offer quality services to the tourists professionally. Human resources are essential for the success of the tourism sector in Tanzania. They should be motivated and remunerate well for them to be effective and efficient in services and reduce cases of fraud or corruption (Entrican, 1995, p. 219).
The budget for the tourism sector should be increased so that services can be improved so that it can attract more tourists, the budget allocation will be used to improve accommodation, roads, national parks, fences, and security within the tourists attraction sites (Tanzania et al. 2002, p. 68). Apart from Serengeti National Park and Ngorongoro Conservation Area (NCA), there are many other sites that are important attracting more tourists and should be developed. The funds will be used to promote research and other facilities required that meet international standards (Matthews, 1992, p. 38).
The government should set a comprehensive database by developing a certification board for tourism sector in the country. In addition, it should establish investment promotion unit and workshops that will enhance and expand tourism industry to international standards (Shetle, 2007, p. 109). Classification and accommodation grading system should be introduced. This will ensure safety and improved services to the tourists. Tour guide training programs, national curriculum on tourism, and domestic air services should be established for the country to earn more foreign income. This will help in identifying road networks that need to be improved because it will facilitate tourism development and growth in the country (Spenceley, 2008, p. 288).
Safety of the tourists and their property is essential; hence, security awareness plan should be established. A marketing strategy, plan, and national web site and links should be improved so that many people can be reached; hence, attracting more tourists both local and international (Utz, 2008, p. 98). Brand image should be created where annual Tanzania Holiday Fair is organized. This will strengthen economic linkages and institutions. If all these recommendations are adopted, tourism sector will improve and earn the country more revenue. In addition, it will create more job opportunities and improve relationship between the country and other foreign nations both politically and economically (Matthews, 1992, p. 39).