Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Why should we adopt Ecotourism in Tanzania?

According to the UN Report of 2008 Tanzania is one of the poorest countries in the world; it is ranked 159 out of 1975 on the human development index. The need to better manage Tanzania’s economy and improve strategies in poverty alleviation is urgent needed. In recognition of that the government of Tanzania has established different numbers of economic reforms aimed to revamp its economy. Despite of this, economic growth has not yet fully translated into poverty reduction at a household level and over one third of the population still lives below the basic needs poverty line and most of the poor communities live in rural areas. The government of Tanzania has formally recognized the value of wildlife resources to the people and economy of Tanzania since her independence in 1961 when former president and father of the nation Mwalimu Julius Nyerere spoke on the need to conserve wildlife resources.

Currently Tanzania has several wildlife protected areas where through all, tourism has become a major support for the economy of the country. As the result now we have different conservation models link conservation of biodiversity with social economic development of the rural communities residing around those protected areas. Several numbers of projects have been established aimed on improving benefits linkage between protected areas and local communities which in turn may improve their economic viability hence become interested in conservation of wildlife resources. Despite of such falsehood initiatives developed, there is no any successfully story which have been reported from all those community based conservation programs rather than costs bearded by local communities residing around those protected areas.

Earning obtained from wildlife resources look impressive, however it is important to understand more about its economic, social-cultural and ecological implications. It is still questionable whether those net earnings have anything to do with poverty alleviation? Basically it is not an option, we should opt for the conservation model which prevents controversial effects and negative impacts on prevailing ecosystems, ensuring well being of local communities and essentially alleviation of abject poverty through encouraging the development of sustainable and responsible form of tourism that is cultural and socially acceptable, economically viable and ecologically friendly. Such form of tourism known as “Ecotourism” has been one of the key important macroeconomic drivers in various countries like Botswana and Namibia. Ecotourism activities are of particular interest to the public because of the symbiotic relationships with conservation, sustainability, and biodiversity. It involves local communities directly in the economic benefits of tourism by actively seeking ways for local communities to co-exist in a beneficial relationship with nature based tourism.

The adoption of community based ecotourism has important implications for local economies and regional natural resources management. We need to plan it well and enhancing good governance at community level, which in turn may facilitate establishment of institutions to the local communities to manage the wildlife based tourism business. Also providing training to members of the community and support in preparation of by-laws greatly enhances people’s participation in management and decision on their resources. Generally ecotourism hold the potentials which assist implementation of conservation and development objectives, by creating economic benefits for the local communities around protected areas.

“Dependent people need others to get what they want. Independent people can get what they want through their own efforts. Interdependent people combine their own efforts with the efforts of others to achieve their greatest success”

Stephen J Nyagonde
National Representative
Young Earth Scientist Network- Tanzania,
Internship WWF Tanzania Office,
Rubeho Environmental Action Project-REAP,
Tanzania Forest Conservation Group (TFCG),
Rubeho, Mpwapwa, Dodoma,
Email: stnya19@yahoo.com, snyagonde@gmail.com
Mobile: +255713058745, +255765111101

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