FOR the tourism industry to grow at the required pace, the Hotels Association of Tanzania (HAT) has identified unfavourable business environment and huge skills gap as main challenges that set back the development of the sector.
HAT's new Chief Executive Officer, Ms Nura-Lisa Karamagi, said recently that the two key issues need to be addressed, to allow the 2bn/- US dollar worth industry to grow, particularly in terms of investment in accommodation facilities.
"Whilst these issues could be seen as complex, long drawn out measures to address them have negative consequences for the multi-billiondollar industry," she said.
In her maiden keynote speech at the Stars-rating Awards Ceremony for Arusha and Manyara regions accommodation facilities, Ms Karamagi said that private sector understands that not all factors affecting the business environment can be solved in a day or even months, but some are possible and achievable.
"One such aspect is due notice in changes in government policies and fees. In a time and price sensitive sector such as ours, what may seem like a small issue has the potential to cause panic and unreliability," HAT CEO told the audience.
In terms of accommodation facilities, she argued, Tanzania still lack sufficient good quality and value for money facilities for low and mid budget travellers. "A sound and fair business environment would go a long way in diversifying accommodation facilities both in terms of categories and owners," Ms Karamagi explained.
According to her, the country is also facing the huge skills gap in the sector, a move that seriously cripple the provision of quality service and value for money. "The private sector continues to do its best to train as many individuals as possible, but we are in dire need of more investment in both resources and commitment on the part of the ministry," HAT CEO noted.
For instance, she cited the National College of Tourism under the Ministry with partnership with private sector has a lot of potential if facilitated and fostered. Ms Karamagi said HAT hopes that the ministry would take a more involved role in aiding the private sector to produce qualified individuals to serve in the industry.
During the four-hour colourful event graced by the Minister of Natural Resources and Tourism, Prof Jumanne Maghembe, over 230 accommodation facilities had been awarded various stars. According to Permanent Secretary (PS) of the Natural Resources and Tourism Ministry, Rtd Major General, Gaundence Milanzi, only 10 out of 231 awarded the five stars rating.