Tourism Development in Northern Circuit of Tanzania and Its Contribution in Improving Local People’s Livelihood

Wilfred E. Mbowe, Ernest Ndunguru, Joyce Gervas


This study evaluates tourism development in the northern tourist circuit of Tanzania, and the extent to which the tourism activities have helped individuals and communities surrounding the natural attractions to secure the necessities of live. It employs descriptive analysis, and interview approach covering selected villages around the national parks. The results show that over 11 years to 2018/19, number of visitors rose by 66.9 percent and earnings (gate fees) by 289.5 percent making the circuit the backbone of tourism in the country. Nevertheless, the industry still faces several challenges, including volatility and moderate growth of the number of visitors in most of the parks; high concentration of visitors and earnings to only three national parks; and difficulty accessibility to some parks. One third of non-resident visitors originate from only three destinations, while about 44.5 percent of leisure and holidays visitors come under package arrangement.

On the improvement of people’s welfare, tourism activities have significantly contributed in improving local people’s welfare as reflected by assets they have, largely obtained through tourist induced demand. Underlining the significance tourism, self-employed respondents indicated that business sales were on average TZS 259,151 between May and September (tourist season), much higher than when off-season. Also, business entities (companies/institutions) in the areas offer direct employment to local people, in which 120 employees (mostly unskilled labour) out 182 originated from the villages. With respect to social services, many local communities benefit from various social services, with the government, natural conservation authorities, and charity organizations playing a greater role in their construction. Most of the social services are easily accessible and affordable. Meanwhile, tourism activities are generally perceived to have little negative effects on culture, respect to the society, and security in the areas as alluded to by 64 percent of 218 respondents.

To develop further the tourism industry to improve its contribution to people’s living, it is imperative to: Intensifying programs on promotions and campaigns to attract both resident and non-resident visitors to less visited parks including encouraging the establishment of African style small-scaled lodges and international-standard tourist hotels where they are lacking, and ensuring taxes and park fees are competitive; Putting in place plans to ensure roads to and in national parks are accessible throughout the year to allow more visits; Enhancing the strategies for product and market diversification; Increasing programs to sensitize the local people on the importance of conserving tourist attractions in their areas, and the benefits associated with tourism; Scaling up training plans for the local people to improve their entrepreneur skills, and facilitate access to affordable loans; Encouraging establishment of tourist-standard restaurants, supermarkets, and cultural and art centres in the vicinity of parks; and scaling up measures to support establishment of social services in areas where the services are lacking or are located far from the people.

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Applied Economics and Finance    ISSN 2332-7294 (Print)   ISSN 2332-7308 (Online)

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