The Tanzania Association of Tour Operators (TATO) in collaboration with IBM Corporate Service Corps volunteers completed a total makeover of its web site, www.tatotz.org, and created a search engine that allows tourists and tour agencies to quickly identify and contact a reliable local tour operator. In addition, with the help of the new site, travelers can rate tour operators on a variety of criteria. These ratings can then be used by tourists while planning their trip as well as by tour operators wishing to improve their quality of service.
Using the new website, tourists around the world can request an offer from a local tour operator for a Kilimanjaro hike, a Serengeti safari, a Zanzibar beach holiday, a bird-watching trip, a cultural tour, or any of the other countless activities the country offers. In the past, tourists or tourist related companies would have to sort through hundreds of operators to identify the ones that meet their needs. With the help of the new website, this search can be done in minutes versus hours while providing tourists with more comprehensive information.
Two teams of IBM Corporate Services Corps volunteers, from the United States, Japan, Israel Germany, and Hungary worked closely with the association to provide support for information management, to prepare and implement an international communications plan, and to build a new website with a searchable database of tour operators. The teams also provided TATO members with on-line training materials and education programs designed especially for small and medium travel enterprises. Besides the geographical diversity, the team brings expertise from the areas of IT systems engineering, software research, business development, and marketing communications.
“TATO is striving to grow its members’ business. Thanks to IBM volunteers, we are able to launch a new website and implement a consistent communications program. Our member organizations are getting more visibility and significantly expanding their word of mouth advertising. This website provides a one-stop shop for all travel needs,” said Mustapha Akunaay, Executive Secretary, Tanzania Association of Tour Operators.
In addition to working with TATO, IBM’s volunteers from the United States, Costa Rica, Philippines, and India, have partnered with the African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) in Tanzania. These teams developed business models that aim to promote ecological and sustainable tourism, secure the protection of the environment and bring benefits for local communities as well as for investors in several wildlife management areas.
“These projects in Tanzania truly show the potential of IBM’s Corporate Service Corps program in terms of being able to help developing countries while encouraging employees to build new skills,” said Mark Harris, General Manager, IBM Sub Saharan Africa. “It’s exciting to see the impact we can make by bringing together a team of IBM colleagues from different geographies and with very different skill sets to solve challenges facing developing nations like Tanzania, Ghana and Vietnam.”