Sustainable Tourism at the Administrative Level: Opportunities for Growth
Tanzanie — Volontariat étudiant
The troubles of sustainable tourism at the administrative level are issues that I experience in my mandate with the Tanzania Tourist Board every day. Globally, the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) outlines three major aspects of tourism which revolve around a business model emphasizing sustainability. The three key aspects of sustainable tourism at the workplace , as outlined by the UNWTO, are as follows:
- « Recruitment, train and employ local community members, including those living in poverty, and integrating them into your value chain [as producers, suppliers, distributors, vendors].
- Enhance the global partnership for sustainable development, complemented by multi-stakeholder partnerships that mobilize and share knowledge, expertise, technology and financial resources, to support the achievement of sustainable development in all countries, in particular developing countries.
- Ensure sufficient participation of women – 30% or greater – in decision-making and governance at all levels and in all areas of business related corporations. »(UNWTO, 2017).
As a volunteer, a significant challenge I encounter daily is the lack of interaction with and communication from members of authority at my office. Like many people in high positions at large organizations, my boss is constantly busy – on the phone, seeing clients and performing administrative work primarily by himself. Other than 10 to 20 minute check-ins or a WhatsApp message, I rarely have significant interactions with people in higher positions at my workplace.
Presently, my boss does not allocate tasks, train and/or hire new staff. However, if there were a new hiring process in place and procedures to train new employees it would not only make his job easier, but simultaneously create employment opportunities for women and youth who contribute to sustainable tourism in Tanzania.
The Tanzania Tourist Board based in Arusha has the potential to generate employment at the administrative level for local people, especially women and youth, but strategies must be put in place to support increased personnel. Maximizing room for employment cannot be done if resources and tasks are not allocated and/or if access to proper management systems are not in place. Alidou Ouedraogo’s paper entitled “Strategic Management in African Firms: A Local Perspective”, explains:
« Badaracco  points out that resources and competency based on knowledge are more or less transferable. In fact, the valuation of these assets depends not only on a company’s ability to integrate new knowledge [Cohen and Levinthal, 1990], but also on its ability to create the necessary social interactions needed to create new knowledge [Kogut and Zander, 1992] and its capacity to choose, maintain and reactivate organizational knowledge [Garud and Nayyar, 1994]. » (Ouedraogo, 2007).
The types of jobs that women and youth in the Tanzanian tourism industry hold are not necessarily leadership positions. With leadership positions representing supervisors, administrative staff, management positions, communications and media staff, and team leaders, women and youth tend to occupy traditional roles in tourism. For example, most women are the cooks, cleaning staff and creators of handicrafts and textiles while young men are the porters, tour guides, and drivers.
While the Tanzania Tourist Board has a responsibility to assist with marketing, policy, and ministry requirements of the legal and economic components of Cultural Tourism Enterprises, the organization has the potential to create pathways for Cultural Tourism Enterprise operators to obtain higher positions in the industry. Smaller scale tourism groups are operating on their own and are not necessarily given the tools needed to obtain leadership roles within the organization. Thus, only a select few people who are considered “higher up” know how the Tanzanian tourism industry runs in the country. If these few people, like my boss, leave the organization then, because of the lack of task allocation, job creation and little to no transfer of skills, the sustainability of the Tanzanian tourism industry leaves as well.
Tourism is a large industry in Tanzania. With options to embark on the most top rated safaris in the world, beautiful hikes, and various activities such as coffee and spice tours, tourism supports economic growth within the country. In order to ensure the sustainability of the industry, it is important to engage more actors in administrative positions. This will not only create jobs for local people including youth and women, but it will also preserve information related to the tourism industry in Tanzania. In order for tourism to continue to be a driving force of the Tanzanian economy, it is essential for the administrative practices to be sustainable.
Tourism for Sustainable Development Goals. (2017). Companies – Tourism for Sustainable Development Goals. [online] Available at: http://tourism4sdgs.org/act/companies/ [Accessed 8 Feb. 2019].
Strategic Management in African Firms: A Local Perspective. (2007). Problems and Perspectives inManagement, [online] 5(1). Available at: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/265422384_Strategic_Management_in_Africa _Firms_A_Local_Perspective [Accessed 10 Feb. 2019].