In an effort to spur tourism in sprawling rural northern Tanzania, a non-profit organization has furnished the Longido Cultural Tourism Program (LCTP) with the equipment to strengthen its efficiency.
Oikos East Africa, through the European Union funded Conserving Neighbouring Ecosystems in Kenya and Tanzania (CONNEKT) project has supplied the state-of-the art eco-tourism gear to support the Longido cultural tourism outfit to improve service provision to tourists.
“We have decided to equip the Longido Cultural Tourism Program with the eco-tourism kits in our quest to enhance its efficiency and service provision to tourists who intend to explore Longido,” said the Oikos East Africa Managing Director, Ms. Mary Birdi.
The items include camping equipment for 10 campers which are 5 tents of different sizes, 10 foldable camping chairs, 3 units of steel camping tables, 2 units of aluminum camping tables, 10 units of camping mattresses with canvas covers, kitchen equipment for 12 campers, 4 solar lights, a small gas stove, and a big storage trunk.
In the list there are also 3 units of mountain bikes to be hired out to tourists intending to explore the Longido sprawling wilderness zone on their own.
“[The] overstretching objective of the donation of the tourism development equipment is to spur the growth of tourism in Longido district, to be able to generate income for both the common people and local government,” Ms. Birdi noted.
Longido Cultural Tourism Program Coordinator, Mr. Alliy Ahmadou Mwako, said the Oikos EA’s eco-tourism equipment support comes at the opportune moment, as the adventure-thirsty-tourists have been demanding the gear.
“The equipment will not only be hired out by private tour companies to spawn income for the project, but also will be used by our own tourists with interest to explore Lake Natron,” Mr. Ahmadou said after having received the gear.
For his part, Longido District Game Officer, Mr. Lomayani Lukumay commended Oikos EA for being in the forefront to compliment the government’s efforts by innovating and supporting community development projects in a bid to achieve the sustainable socio-economic agenda.
“Oikos EA has been our true partner in terms of conservation of natural resources. For instance, it has been able to mobilize and empower the community to engage directly in conservation and human-wildlife conflict resolution,” Mr. Lukumay explained.
He implored the Longido Cultural Tourism Program beneficiaries to use the eco-tourism equipment as a catalyst not only to do tourism business, but also to be the good ambassadors of the conservation drive.
“We believe that these eco-tourism gear will not only strengthen your outfit economically, but also will be the catalyst for you to ensure Wildlife and ecosystem are safe for sustainable tourism trade” he noted.
Longido Cultural Tourism Program (LCTP) with its base in Longido district, Arusha region, in partnership with Longido Tourism Trekkers are operating within and beyond the cultural-rich district of Longido.
Mr. Ahmadou said his program has been able to create 15 decent tour guiding job opportunities for the local youths and now is working overtime searching for an artifacts market for women.
The local Maasai, for the benefit of their community, runs the Longido cultural program under the Tanzania Association of Cultural Tourism Organizers (TACTO) and close guidance of the state-run Tanzania Tourist Board’s (TTB) unit of Cultural Tourism Program (CTP).
It organizes the tour to the extensive plains around Longido Mountains, 80 km north of Arusha, and features an insight into the traditions of Maasai culture. The lush area is home to rare birds and mammals.
The tour includes a nature trail to spot birds, a walking safari through the Maasai plains over the slopes of Longido mountain, a visit to a traditional Maasai villages, a tour of historical sites dating back to British colonial times, and a Lake Natron visit, among others.