KAMPALA, Uganda (eTN) – A recent editorial in Tanzania’s Daily News once again played up divisive sentiments over the location of Mt. Kilimanjaro, which lies undisputedly inside Tanzanian territory.
Marketing language used in Kenya had in the past attracted visitors to Kenya to then climb Kilimanjaro, something Tanzanian tourism operators had taken exception to, although it is undisputed that views towards the mountain from Kenya’s Amboseli National Park are arguably amongst the best from anywhere. The mountain, beyond the lower foothills, is, however, across the frontier and anyone climbing must do so from Tanzania and pay for permits and park entry fees there, leaving the financial benefits with the Tanzanian operators.
The underlying tenor of the message, however, is much more sinister, as it again brings to the forefront substantive and misguided opposition towards making tourism a regional force, benefitting from synergy effects and being able to effectively tap into new and emerging markets by pooling resources.
The editorial is also a vote against opening up the region under the auspices of the new East African Community, which in time to come will allow for freedom of movement of labor and capital and allow for equality amongst businesses from anywhere in the region.
The aviation sector is one of those suffering from antiquated regulatory regimes (as is incidentally also the safari operations sector), often forcing aircraft to fly first and at substantial extra expense, into one of the few international airports or aerodromes, before being able to proceed into the national parks, if that is at all being permitted by Tanzanian aviation authorities and travelers are not compelled to change aircraft before reaching their intended destination.
After hosting the just ended Africa Travel Association 33rd annual congress in Arusha and professing to Africanism, brotherly unity and regional integration, the time is ripe to throw out such inflammatory sentiments and move closer together, not further apart and break the vicious circle started by the founding fathers of the old EAC and their subsequent acrimonious break up of the first really functioning regional integrated economic entity.
This sentiment was also voiced by Zanzibari President Abeid Karume, who in closing the 33rd ATA Congress in Arusha called for regional cooperation and joint regional tourism development and marketing.