Critique of a Tourist Business in Tanzania Including What Are Good and Bad Term Paper

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SWOT Analysis: Tourism Industry in Tanzania

The tourist industry in Tanzania is less well developed than in many African countries. This has been attributed as being due to the result of past government policies. The state in Tanzania has been a major shareholder in the tourist industry. Unfortunately, this has made many foreign companies reluctant to invest in the country for this very reason. Beginning in 1990, the Tanzanian government began to liberalize and privatize the tourist sector. This has revitalized the tourist industry in the country. Then in 1992, the government created the Tanzanian Tourist Board. Based upon 2001 data, the tourist industry currently supports 27,000 jobs and generates 25% of the country's foreign exchange. This privatization produced a record 330,000 visitors in the mid-1990's (Boniface and Cooper 2001, 247).

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Unfortunately, there is still a lot of progress that needs to be made. Based upon this essay's author's own observations made upon their 10 day field trip, the following essay will center upon the pros and cons of the Tanzanian tourist industry. This will include an analysis on the positive side the successes of Tanzanian government led efforts, especially in the area of ecotourism centered upon the conservation of natural, forest and wildlife resources and the widespread use of the English language. On the negative side, the socialistic structure of Tanzania has hindered the very infrastructural support mechanisms that would insure the success of ecotourism, including bad road conditions, lack of roads in many areas, an almost total lack of airports, official and unofficial corruption and the lack of a consumer oriented culture. Particularly, Western consumerism creates a conflict with the poor Tanzanian locals who may push their products and services and may overprice them in such a manner as to scare away the very tourist patronage that Tanzanians so desperately need.

TOPIC: Term Paper on Critique of a Tourist Business in Tanzania Including What Are Good and Bad Assignment

SWOT analysis is a method that is used for companies and geographical regions in general in the provision of an objective rating template. SWOT stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (Friesner, 2000-2010). I will use this as a way to introduce a lot of information into this short study.

Strengths:

As noted above, the Tanzanian state was the spearhead for the preservation of natural resources. This has not been done necessarily for completely altruistic reasons. As pointed out in foreword in Baldus and Cauldwell, hunting is one of the major income earners for many Wildlife Management Areas. Revenues from hunting have to be optimized to ensure that the local communities benefit maximally from the benefit sharing plans and to capture revenue potentials and the real market values of environmental products (Baldus & Cauldwell 2004, 3).

While this is the official view, the author's personal observation and research is at variance with this and supports a more ecotourism type of view, which will be elaborated upon later. These experiences include a number of personal encounters with representatives from the Tanzanian government and related nongovernmental organizations. The hunting in not so much an emphasis as is game safaris (tours that emphasize photography). In actuality, hunting is declining in terms of popularity.

Interestingly enough, the situation is fluid and in flux. At the upper echelons of the Tanzanian government, older bureaucrats are giving way to younger ones that are emphasizing a resource conservation model and are trying to change the bureaucracy.

The younger officials understand that the strengths should be in providing a diversity and variety of natural resources in term of wildlife. They have the raw knowledge and experience to use these benefits to generate income from Tourism Industry by protecting these conservation areas and supporting ecotourism strategies.

Weaknesses:

The author already has mentioned infrastructural weaknesses, such as the lack of roads, service to Western consumers, etc. However, this weakness applies mainly to bringing in tourism investment money from overseas that will build up the country's infrastructure. From the standpoint of the tourist, this is definitely a weakness. For example, let us say that the effete tourist from Germany or from a big city in the U.S. comes to Tanzania and laments the lack of five star hotels, rental cars, roads to drive them on and the lack of customer service and the high price of local products. In the issue paper, Nelson quotes the Ecotourism Society as to the definition of "ecotourism as 'responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and improves the well-being of local people'" (Nelson 2004, 3).

This is all very well, but does the Westerner have the right to lecture the local Tanzanian who has to hunt for their next meal or who has to aggressively hawk their wares as to what is "responsible travel" and "ecotourism, " especially when they come from societies that are the planet's major polluters? Is the emphasis upon foreign investment as put forth in the Journal of International Development valid (Kweka, Morrissey and Blake 2003, 37)?

In addition, the author draws upon their own experiences to elaborate upon the nature of the situation on the ground in Tanzania currently. While the government has the knowledge, experience and resources to distribute the profits from tourism and develop the country's infrastructure and improve the quality of the life of the people, the reality falls short of the official line. The infrastructure and quality of the people is quite bad. Any outside investor must ask, where has the money gone? What is the extent of corruption? Can elections and democratic change happen?

According to the author's observations, the country is run by oligarchs who have almost a virtual monopoly. There is one party government, so a regime change in the near future is remote. While the tourism business is fully supported by the government and the companies they own, much of this money is not getting reinvested to develop new infrastructure or to help the local people profit.

Opportunities:

Stepping away from academia for awhile and their agenda supporting large scale foreign investment, the author would like to look up indications of what the market is doing right now in time of "adventure tourism." This tourism works very closely with the local economy and existing infrastructure. This approach is put forward in "International Trends in Park Tourism" where the approach of adventure tourism and sustainable tourism is being touted for European parks. In this study, Tanzania is lauded as a great example of sustainable tourism where environmental and local needs are paramount rather than going the questionable route of displacing the local system with a huge infusion of foreign cash (Eagles 2001, 4). Needless to say, with foreign cash comes foreign control. Will the locals really benefit?

Again, based upon the author's observations and confidential conversations with government officials, in reality, the Tanzanian government has a big problem on its hands. In its effort to conserve more area, it has been forcing the Masai people off of their traditional lands and to move to other places. Any policies have to take into consideration the needs of the local peoples and to study their traditional methods of resource conservation and working with nature to live.

In the author's opinion the answer is that foreign investment needs to promoted, as long as it benefits the people. The foreign investors simply need to build in compliance measures in their contracts to make sure that the money is invested in infrastructure and that the original peoples are brought into the conservation scheme. In the Bird article from Africa Travel Magazine online, this is the popular perception that Tanzania is trying to promote (Bird 1 April 3, 2010)

Threats:

This leads directly to the threats section of the SWOT Analysis. What are the biggest threats to the Tanzanian tourist industry as it stands now? The biggest potential threat to this growing tourism industry (ironically enough, to infrastructural intensive tourism) is terrorism. Such tourism certainly would provide a number of soft targets (such as hotels, restaurants and nightclubs) that would be attractive for Al Qaeda related terrorist groups to attack. What comes to mind in immediate historical memory was the 1998 terrorist attack on the U.S. embassy in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania in 1998. In the Shinn article, he referenced a foiled attack upon a hotel in Zanzibar in 2003 (Shinn April 1, 2010). How will the country be affected, especially in the context of the U.S. war on terror as it applies to the Horn of Africa? While it appears that the Obama administration is not backing down on Afghanistan and Iraq, this leaves very little in terms of the ability of the U.S. To intervene in Africa.

Conclusion:

It is the conclusion of this author that based upon past and present economic trends (especially with regard to the worldwide recession), tourism in Tanzania needs to promote foreign investment. Otherwise, it will remain the preserve of the wealthy who can afford the expense of transport out to inhospitable and remote areas either on photo safari trips or on other eco-friendly, sustainable tourism. The beautiful resources of Tanzania are a heritage for all of… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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