Development of a Pro-Poor Tourism Industry in Mwanza, Tanzania
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Mwanza Region in northern Tanzania is one of the poorest regions of the country. The economy of this region is mainly dependent on two industries: fishing and mining. Since both of these industries are confined in nature and won’t last forever, the city’s economy is in need of an additional industry that will provide the inhabitants of Mwanza with enough job opportunities for the city to sustain itself and hopefully develop further. Since Tanzania’s main export product is tourism and Mwanza lies only two hours away from the most visited safari attraction of the country: Serengeti National Park, tourism would be a good option. If managed in the right way, tourism could even create opportunities for the poorest of the poor, such as the street children and lepers in Mwanza. Up till now Mwanza has been missing out on the benefits of the thousands of tourists coming to Tanzania every year. So far Mwanza has not been able to compete with booming tourist destinations like Arusha and Zanzibar but within the city and its surroundings lay great opportunities for Mwanza to become one of the top tourist destinations in Tanzania. However, tourism does not only bring benefits to the local people. It can also do a lot of harm to the community, its culture and the environment. Examples from other countries and cities show us that revenues from tourism attractions often leak back to developed countries and only a very small percentage stays in the hosting country. There are examples to be found of tourism leading to cultural and economical deprivation. Therefore, it is important that the development of the tourism industry of Mwanza is guided in the right direction, in a way that makes sure the local people, including the poor, benefit first. During this study research has been conducted regarding the opportunities and obstacles that can be found in Mwanza City and its direct surroundings in respect of pro-poor tourism. The main research question has been: Which steps have to be taken to create a pro-poor tourism industry in Mwanza City and Mwanza Region? For the larger part the research has been an exploratory study so necessarily qualitative in nature. In depth interviews and observations have been used in order to get an image of the existing situation in Mwanza and the main opportunities and obstacles the tourism industry is facing. A number of case studies provide an insight in the lives of stakeholders of tourism in Mwanza. For the quantitative part short questionnaires have been used in order to find out the capacity of the attractions and facilities and the demand of the tourists. It has been found that the tourism industry in Mwanza, though still in its infancy, already holds the basis for a variety of attractions that could be developed into pro-poor tourist attractions. Moreover, there are a significant number of stakeholders present in Mwanza who are eager to change the situation. In this study a intervention-oriented roadmap has been developed that focuses on the creation of networks between stakeholders, improvement of education and training of stakeholders, revision of existing supply chains, innovation and development of new pro-poor attractions and routes, lobbying for governmental change, improvement of the regional infrastructure and building of a tourist friendly and pro-poor reputation.