(eTN) – The Tanzania Tourist Board (TTB) is expected to launch a new logo and branding for Tanzania tourism today, when presenting to the tourism industry – a wide section of stakeholders and the general public – with the results of months of intense soul searching, brainstorming, and hard work.
TTB felt that the old slogans and logos were no longer reflecting the reality of today, and that the country’s marketing, especially ahead of the world’s biggest tourism fair – ITB, needed a substantive boost and fresh creative approach.
It is widely expected that the approach to marketing the wide variety of attractions for tourists coming to visit Tanzania will shift focus from the best known parks and mountains to some of the lesser-known game reserves and national parks, including some of the less-explored islands off the Tanzanian mainland, to showcase to the world that a visit to Tanzania can be complete entirely on its own and that there is plenty more to discover and explore even for repeat visitors.
One of the setbacks, though, is the poor funding for the tourist board, which unlike their colleagues in Kenya and Rwanda for instance, who comparatively get a lot more money for global promotions, are like the Uganda Tourist Board – the “poor cousins.” It was noteworthy, therefore, that the minister for tourism earlier in the week gave a thinly-concealed directive to Tanzania National Parks [TANAPA] and related bodies to pool resources for better marketing results, prompting immediate negative comments from unhappy staff of those organizations about the minister appropriating himself powers over their budgets instead of fighting at the cabinet level for more and better funding for the tourism board and other bodies.
Said one regular source from Arusha: “This government is damaging tourism and conservation; not supporting it. The planned highway across our park here is to benefit few at the expense of a thriving tourism industry. They think that tourists must come there, they do not; there are other choices they have. You have also written about the Stone Town in Zanzibar and Stieglers in Selous. All these are UNESCO sites and that is very valuable, but our government seems to be out of tune with these things.
“Now they tell us to pool our resources with TTB because they in the first place starved them out of money. Our promotional budgets are targeting certain things, and what we spend has been approved, our budgets have been approved, and our targets for promoting Serengeti and Ngorongoro are not always the same like TTB. Of course, we coordinate with TTB, we talk and we consult, but if what the minister is now directing comes through, the next thing he wants [is] to merge us all. We are not competing with TTB or other bodies but covering our own niches and targets.
“He was deputy minister in [the] last cabinet, but has he learned about tourism and conservation? This is very disappointing. And our bosses are just told what to do or else they are sacked or branded anti-government and all for the failures of a system and one man.”
Harsh words but considering what is at stake here totally appropriate and justified. The source did also say they intend to consult with private sector stakeholders, but not officially, and talk to parliamentarians especially those with a link to tourism, to enlighten them on the real issues without going public yet for fear of the possible negative impact thsi may have to their careers and professional future.