Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Who is really cashing in on Arusha Tanzania tourism?

     The answer may surprise you; most people think Tanzanians are becoming overnight multi-millionaires because of the tourism sector which in the past few years has quadruple. Yes there are more tour companies in Arusha city  alone than in many cities combined, yes the tourism sector is the number one employer in Arusha, and yes safari companies, hotels, bnb’s, lodges, Inns  are popin up faster than you can keep up. But the little secret shared by many of the veterans owners of these tour companies, and establishments is, most of the time they  just make enough to pay their overhead, add a car or two a year and just a bit left over for profit which in turn has to be saved for the next travel season.
    So the million dollar question is who really cashing in? The answer may surprise many but it’s just facts, western travel agents, online travel companies, brokers and just a small percentage of Tanzanians who have deep contacts all over the world are the true winners."Sometime keeping profits for  up to 45% then bargaining with small safari companies and accommodations to do the rest" as one tour company operator advised me. It's  job well done by mom and pops safari companies and accommodations doing all they can to make the best out of the Tanzania tourism by training their staff , investing and advertising Tanzania to the world with the little cash they have, but with shady contracts, problematic infrastructure, high taxes, low government support and the global competition which has been fueled by the internet revolution, achieving the multi-millionaire status just engaging in tourism, is a blinking light seen at the end of  a far away tunnel.

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