KAGERA Regional Commissioner (RC) Major General Charles Mbuge has appealed to residents and all Tanzanians to take a holistic approach for promoting domestic tourism in efforts to speed people's development.
Equally, he tasked District Commissioners (DCs) and District Executive Directors (DEDs) to avail all possible assistance to stakeholders who engage in tourism sector to make their dreams come true.
Major Gen Mbugeurged the private sectorto take advantage of immense opportunities in the tourism sector, particularly in promoting domestic tourism for economic prosperity.
He said there is a gap in domestic tourism awareness, a situation that could be an opportunity for players in the private sector to take advantage and contribute to national economic building efforts.
He explained that the upgrading of Burigi-Chato, IbandaKyerwa and RumanyikaKaragwe National Parks was in line with government efforts to expand tourism sachets in north-western zone. He noted that this is a golden opportunity not to be missed and will increase the number of tourists.
He made the remarks yesterday while opening a tourism stakeholders' conference held in Bukoba Municipal Council."Tourism is a key sector contributing almost 17 per cent of the nation's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and a big foreign earner.
"However, it is unfortunate that the sector has not been exploited, thus denying the government and many people an opportunity to become rich. Joint efforts are thus needed to improve the sector," he said.
Domestic tourism offers immense opportunities for the private sector to grab by organizing tours targeting different groups to visit the national parks, especially during weekends and vacations. It is high time for players in the private sector to influence Tanzanians to become tourists in their own country-to enjoy the leisure of the country's diverse natural heritage.
Private sector may design affordable and attractive packages for locals in groups which suit corporate and individual clients – especially those attending workshops, conferences and training workshops throughout the country.
People travel from different parts of the world to visit tourism attractions and we remain spectators believing that tourism is only for foreigners, expensive andwastage of money. Cultural tourism is among potential areas earmarked to attract more tourists.
The government is keen to ensure that investors conduct their business in a conducive and attractive environment.
"Private sector is encouraged to exploit opportunities offered through tourism," he said.
Elaborating, he said Kagera region is located strategically due to its proximity to four East African Community (EAC) nations- Rwanda, Uganda, Burundi and Kenya across Lake Victoria.