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An ambitious joint strategy between UNDP, UNWTO, and TATO is taking place to spur the tourism industry in Tanzania.
Better days for the tourism industry in Tanzania are in the offing thanks to the UNWTO Academy for imparting tour operators with pertinent digital marketing skills. Dubbed “On-site modules training on tourism digitization,” is the brainchild of 2 key UN agencies, namely the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Academy under the auspices of the Tanzania Association of Tour Operators (TATO).
The first UNWTO Academy digital tourism training of its kind for Tanzania tour operators covered marketing, online events, e-commerce, sales optimization, web analytics, business intelligence, and customer relationship management.
In view of the growing importance of tourism in the Tanzanian economy and the need to develop the necessary digital skills in the subsector, the UNDP Tanzania has requested UNWTO’s technical assistance in the implementation of key activities related to building digital capacities of related stakeholders to stimulate and accelerate tourism recovery.
In 2019, the tourism sector was the second largest economic sector contributing 17% to the national GDP, and it was estimated to be the 3rd source of employment, in particular for women, which make up 72% of all workers in the tourism industry.
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the World Bank estimates that Tanzania’s GDP growth decelerated to 2% in 2020. Tourism business slowed and the 72% drop in the tourism’s revenues in 2020 (from 2019 levels) closed businesses and caused layoffs.
Zanzibar’s economy was even more severely impacted with GDP growth slowing to an estimated 1.3%, driven by a collapse of the tourism industry.
While the Zanzibar tourism industry started slowly rebounding in the last quarter of 2020 with tourist inflows in December 2020 reaching almost 80% of those in 2019, receipts from tourism fell by 38% for the year.
Considering the impact COVID-19 can have to the tourism industry of Tanzania, UNWTO has expressed its willingness to assist the country with capacity building programs in different topics related to digital marketing and communication in international tourism.
“Growth of the tourism industry is an attractive sustainable economic development option for Tanzania with great potential to create jobs and boost employment. For this to happen, the country requires a highly skilled, qualified, and motivated human capital base, and the UNWTO Academy is here to assist the country with capacity building programs,” said Dr. Jasmina Locke on behalf of the UNWTO Academy.
The Executive Education Program Assistant at the UNWTO Academy, Tijana Brkic, said that the idea behind the program is to facilitate seamless travel and tourism operations through application of digital innovative marketing and other solutions
“It will also support the packaging of value for money and competitive tourism products as a way of building back faster and stronger destination,” Brkic said in an exclusive interview.
Equally important, the scheme intends to restore confidence in the source markets including other travelers depending on the motive of travel, like either for business, volunteering work, study, amp, and research.
“At the end, the project wants to restore hope within the local economies especially those who have lost their jobs because of the COVID-19 pandemic,” she explained.
It goes without saying that digital marketing is used by so many businesses of different industries and has proven its worth in delivering many more leads to them. And of course, more leads mean more business, and more business means more profit.
The travel industry in Tanzania is no different and should embrace well to the realm of the digital world to increase their brands’ awareness and be able to reach more possible customers as much as they could.
In his keynote address during the onset of an intensive training program for a pioneer batch of tour operators, TATO CEO, Mr. Sirili Akko, conceded that truly the digital world flipped the table and made everything so easy that one can settle things with just a few clicks.
“In the advent of today’s digital age, the importance of digital marketing for businesses has grown and the travel industry cannot afford to let this opportunity slip away,” Mr. Akko said amid applause from the floor.
By going online, the travel business agencies can now implement different activities to make them known, reach a lot of people all over the world, and tell them exclusive offers and post ads that will make every person watching want to head out and start planning for a getaway.
“Sincerely, the influence of digital marketing transcends borders which allows the travel sector to entice people from all over the world to the different places they can visit,” Mr. Akko explained, adding, “TATO is so grateful to the 2 UN agencies of UNDP and UNWTO Academy for their incredible training for Tanzania tour operators.”
UNDP Country Representative, Ms. Christine Musisi, said: “As the UN Secretary General, Antonio Gutteres, says, the world can and must harness the power of tourism as we strive to carry out the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. UNDP reiterates its support on tourism issues ensuring digital tourism is enhanced by imparting knowledge to tourism stakeholders so as to accelerate tourism recovery.”
Tourism is an important driver of economic growth and development, with significant impact on job creation, investment, development of infrastructure, and the promotion of social inclusion.
Tourism offers Tanzania the long-term potential to create good jobs, generate foreign exchange earnings, provide revenue to support the preservation and maintenance of natural and cultural heritage, and expand the tax base to finance development expenditures and poverty-reduction efforts.
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