Arusha — Unfriendly business environment and huge skills gap are two persistent drawbacks that curtail the growth of tourism industry, the Hotels Association of Tanzania (Hat) has warned.
Hat's new chief executive officer (CEO) Nura-Lisa Karamagi argued that whilst these issues could be seen as complex, long drawn out measures to address them have negative consequences for the multi-billion-dollar industry.
In her maiden keynote address at the Stars-rating Awards Ceremony for Arusha and Manyara regions based accommodation facilities, Ms Karamagi said that private sector recognizes that not all factors affecting the business can be solved overnight, or even months, but some are possible.
"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" she noted, amid applause from the floor.
For accommodation facilities in particular, the Hat boss said, Tanzania still lacks 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 crippling the provision of quality service and value for money.
However, it is understood, Hat, together with her members and the partnership of Ministry through the National College of Tourism, had been working hard to solve this problem through the apprenticeship program. To a great extent, it has been a success but, Ms Karamagi said, is unfortunately not close enough to providing the quality skills that the industry and in particular accommodation facilities need.
"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.
"We may seem to have different interests but in truth our interests are the same, and only differ in modalities. We need your help as you need ours" she explained, adding. "If we come to the table transparent about what each side needs and expects, there maybe a few misunderstandings at first but we are confident we can help each other resolve win-win solutions that will make grow and foster our industry".