Communtiy Based Rural Tourism
The Friends of Usambara Cultural Tourism Programme is a sustainable, pro-poor tourism initiative that engages local communities in various tourism activities for the purpose of helping rural Tanzanians earn an income from tourism. Tanzanians are proud to receive tourists in their rural areas where the authentic culture of the people can be perfectly explored by tourists, and various benefits gained by the local community.
Cultural Tourism contributes to Community Development through providing employment to local people who works as Tour Guides, Coordinators of Cultural Tourism Enterprises, Traditional dancers, storytellers, food service providers, accommodation service providers (home stays & camping), and through direct sales of goods and services to tourists.
Cultural Tourism creates an opportunity for local people to sell goods and services directly to tourists. Communities benefit indirectly through a tax or levy on tourism income. Currently Cultural Tourism Enterprises provides direct benefits (income) to Enterprise Coordinators, Tour Guides, Food Service Providers, Handcraft Makers (majority are women groups), Story Tellers, Traditional Dancers, Farmers, Traditional Healers, Blacksmiths, and Home-Stay Service Providers, just to mention a few. Many poor and disadvantaged groups in rural areas are indirectly benefiting through Cultural Tourism in Tanzania. Indirect benefits include supported development projects by development fees collected. Projects supported are schools, hospitals, water supply, orphanage centres,and much more.
A number of development projects such as education, health, water, environmental conservation, and orphanage centres have been supported by Village Development fees, which make up a small portion of the tourism packages prices. Some tourists have provided voluntary donations to support local development projects. Over the years, 5 schools have been renovated and supplied with desks. One classroom has been built at the new Mlembule Maasai Primary School, and FoU is trying to raise funds to complete this construction project. Secondary school projects in the Babati and Hanang communities have been executed.