DAR ES SALAAM, Tanzania (eTN) – Viewers of Tanzania’s leading television station, the Independent Television (ITV), enjoyed a good moment last weekend to debate in live talk on domestic tourism development in Tanzania.
The live TV talk, the “Barometer,” brought three panelists with experience on African tourism, among them, eTurboNews’ Tanzania ambassador and East African correspondent, Mr. Apolinary Tairo, who shared views on problems and challenges facing local tourism development in Tanzania.
Panelists shared views with a section of ITV viewers through phone calls to the TV’s studios in Tanzania’s capital city of Dar es Salaam, most of them expressing their grievances over poor performance on domestic, tourist, program development.
Representing millions of ITV viewers, respondents outside Dar es Salaam said Tanzania needed good policies that would empower locals (Tanzanians) to enjoy tourist products available in their own country and know their natural land.
The station telecasts its programs in the entire East African region with a good reception of viewers.
Viewers of the program responded to discussions from the panelists and said Tanzania has a long way to go in achieving domestic, tourism development, because most Tanzanians can’t afford the very expensive services offered to tourists inside the wildlife parks and other tourist sites.
They said lack of awareness among Tanzanians could be the other reason that makes this African destination move at a snail’s speed in promoting domestic tourism.
Host of the ITV’s exciting “Barometer” program, Mr. Steven Chuwa, said he was very delighted to see such a positive response from viewers who showed a great interest in debating tourism.
“I thank you all for accepting our TV station’s invitation to discuss tourism development and its importance to Tanzanians. It has been a very successful live talk,” Mr. Chuwa said as he would up the ninety-minute, live program.
In his comments later, Mr. Tairo said the program was planned at the right time, when Tanzania is preparing to hold the second Travelers’ Philanthropy Conference early in December this year.
He said it was unfortunate that most Tanzanians know very little about tourism and their country because of poverty and little incomes.
“I expect the Travelers’ Philanthropy Conference that has been organized by the Center on Ecotourism and Sustainable Development (CESD) in Washington, would make a difference in Tanzania’s business-dominated tourism and bring a sense of responsibility to local communities,” Mr. Tairo said.
The conference will focus mostly on local communities with profiles from the growing number of successful, local development and conservation programs supported through travelers’ philanthropy initiatives.
Lack of awareness among most Tanzanians was the major reason behind poor performance on domestic tourism, while the travel industry is perceived as foreign based with little benefits to the locals, he said.
During the African Travel Association (ATA) Congress and the Leon Sullivan Summit in Tanzania’s tourist city of Arusha a few months ago, very few residents knew the benefits of such two, milestone, and travel-trade gatherings.
“I saw locals shocked by a sliding banner with elephant images that was installed by the Ngorongoro Conservation Area to publicize the rich wildlife resources available there. Some knew nothing about Ngorongoro though it is just 160 kilometers away,” Mr. Tairo added.
The ITV station, the first among early, free, electronic media to be established in Tanzania some 15 years ago, has been telecasting tourist-attractive images in its weekly programs.
Out of the best tourist-attractive movies telecast by the ITV station, were the wildlife movies from Tanzania and Africa aimed to educate Tanzanians of their rich, tourist attractions.
The station, owned by a local Tanzanian leading media, the IPP Media has been a good example of a philanthropic institution supporting local communities in need, as well as children.
ITV host a series of children’s educational programs aimed at equipping them with knowledge in the various aspects of life, including nature, environmental conservation, and the culture of visiting places.