Supporting Post-Covid Recovery

Developing a Post-Covid 19 recovery framework for Tanzania’s Tourism sector

Project summary

The Challenge

The Covid-19 pandemic has negatively impacted tourism in developing countries, not least in Tanzania, where tourism is a major part of the economy.

The Approach

Interviews with 30+ stakeholders from the Tanzanian tourism sector facilitated an understanding of the impact of Covid-19 and a recovery framework.

The Outcome

The project identified four courses of action for the recovery of the Tanzanian Tourism sector.

Lead researchers

Funded by

Project partners

The Challenge

During the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic global governance was in a sharp reactive mode. In responding to the increasing public health and safety risks, governments undertook measures that resulted in unprecedented disruptions to economic activity. Travel restrictions, border closures and lockdowns induced severe shocks to the global tourism sector. In Tanzania tourism is the fastest growing sector in the economy. However, the immediate future of the tourism sector appears bleak as the sector's entire value chain has been severely interrupted in multiple and hardly anticipatable ways. Prolonged closures of leisure and hospitality business activity, cancellation of international bookings, and limited scope for personalised services, have severely jeopardised the sector’s prospects. A revenue contraction of 80% or more in 2020 was expected along with mild recovery from 2021.

Owing to the lack of precedence to the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as tourism sector's enhanced susceptibility, policy responses have been mostly ad-hoc, short-term, and reactionary - mostly demonstrating a lack of concerted effort and strategic clarity. Moreover, government guidelines concerning the Tanzanian tourism sector have been occasionally confusing, generic and impractical, and the business level standard operating procedures also suggesting differing priorities of actors at the business level.

Consequently, the research team aimed to develop a contextually grounded and sector level course of action framework necessary to align stakeholder actions, apportion resources, and expedite the tourism sectors recovery in Tanzania.

Workshop Participants

The full research team

The Approach

This research project was conducted across Tanzania from January to July in 2021. The project aimed to draw insight from different actors’ lived experiences and perceptions across the tourism sector value chain, including the relevant government departments, sector regulatory bodies, and representative industry practitioners.

As part of this process: 35 tourism service providers across the tourism value chain were interviewed. This included owners/managers of tourism enterprises and entities focused on accommodation services; transport services, excursion services, tour guide services and membership associations.

In adopting an inductive qualitative approach, we produced a unique, timely and a holistic post Covid-19 response policy framework that is context relevant and actor-centred. This occurred by evaluating actors' lived experiences, which enabled us to identify context-specific challenges brought on by Covid-19 and the associated sector responses. Second, we mapped the challenges and responses faced against the support arrangements arising from existing policy interventions. Finally, we then used the insights gathered (while also reviewing relevant measures of best practice from other countries dealing with the impacts of Covid-19) to develop a contextually relevant tourism sector recovery plan for Tanzania.

Tanzanian Minister for Tourism and Natural Resources Hon. Dr. Damas Ndumbaro delivering the dissemination event opening speech.

Research Findings

The project identified four courses of action for the recovery of the Tanzanian Tourism sector. These are

  • Enforcement of and adherence to globally aligned public health measures
  • Government buffering
  • Public–private sector resources pooling
  • Target market diversification

The first recommendation was to enforce and adhere to globally aligned public health measures to restore the trust and allay the fears of international tourists visiting Tanzania.

The second recommendation was what we term government buffering. This refers to the need for the Tanzania government to strengthen or ‘buffer’ the tourism industry to retain its previous levels of operation. The four areas of government ‘buffering’ identified by the research were 1.) Implementation of pro tourism tax incentives 2.) Reduction of tourism related fees (airport landing charges, entry charges to national parks etc.) 3.) increased marketing and promotion of Tanzania’s tourism resources and 4.) Relief support for affected tourism entities i.e. relief grants and 0% interest loans.

The third recommendation is what we term ‘cross sectoral resource pooling’. This recommendation urged the need for collaboration between private and public sector organisations(public private partnerships) to leverage financial and non-financial resources for mutual benefit.

The final strategy was to focus on diversifying the Tanzanian tourism sectors target markets through three mechanisms 1.) diversification of service offerings 2.) Focus on non-tradition domestic and regional markets and 3.) incentivisation of visitation to Tanzania.

The Impact

The project findings were disseminated via a high-level project meeting at the Open University of Tanzania. This dissemination session involved the Tanzanian government minister for tourism and natural resources and a host of government and private sector organisation leaders including the Tanzanian forest services agency, the Tanzanian tourism board, the tourism confederation of Tanzania and the Tanzanian hotel association among many others.

The dissemination event was picked up by numerous national newspapers in Tanzania including the Daily news and Guardian while being reported on television during the nightly new round up on the Tanzanian Broadcasting Service.

TV and Radio Dissemination

On completion of the project and right after the morning news on the Tanzania state broadcaster two dissemination programmes occurred with both the national TV and radio stations. In these programmes a host ran a hard talk like session focusing on questions surrounding the project findings.