Tanzania: Why Tanzania Needs to Bridge Skills Gap in Tourism Sector

Dar es Salaam — The story of human resources development in the tourism sector in Tanzania follows a path that is in line with the policy direction towards the sector since independence.

After independence in 1961, the government did not put much emphasis on tourism as a business undertaking that could have helped fill government coffers, create employment and reduce poverty.

Though tourists were allowed into the country and some hotels were built, there were no deliberate efforts to promote Tanzania as a destination of choice.

Encouraging tourism was seen as depending on foreigners to boost the economy, which was against the policy of socialism and self-reliance.

Because of this policy not much efforts were made to invest in human resources development.

As a result the shortage of skilled labour remains a major issue that still haunts the sector even as Tanzania attains the age 60 years as a country.

A recent research report shows that 28 percent of all workers in managerial positions in the tourism and hospitality industry are foreigners as compared to 4 percent in the supervisory level.

“The number of foreign employees is equivalent to 28 percent of the total workforce at the managerial level and 4 percent at the supervisory level, which indicates a lack of the necessary skills and experience for local staff to be entrusted with higher positions in the establishments,” reads part of a report entitled ‘Demand and Supply of Skills in the Tourism and Hospitality Sector in Tanzania’ conducted by University of Dar es Salaam Professor Wineaster Anderson and published in 2016.

Tourism is labour intensive and employs a significant number of females and youth, according to Prof Anderson.

The potential for tourism to create mass employment and end poverty is unlimited.

In 2014 about 1.2 million people were employed in the tourism sector, 500,000 among them directly, according to the 2015/16 budget speech of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism.

By 2019 the direct employment had reached 850,000, according to a World Bank report titled ‘Transforming Tourism: Towards a Sustainable, Resilient and Inclusive Sector’ released in July 2021.

The employment fell to almost nil following the Covid-19 pandemic.

Despite the potential for more employment employers still can’t find the right skills to fill the thousands of vacancies available.

It is worth noting that training institutions in Tanzania have not offered any supervisory or management programmes dedicated to tourism.

This explains why a number of tourist industry operators have opted to employ foreigners for management positions.

Higher learning institutions started offering degrees in tourism related courses in the year 2000, almost 40 years after independence.

According to Prof Anderson, Tumaini University (TU) introduced a degree programme in cultural anthropology and tourism.

The University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM)’s Business School started bachelor degree courses on Commerce in Tourism and Hospitality Management in 2008.

Later, the Faculty of Geography of UDSM also started a Diploma course in Cultural Tourism.

Todate there is college that offers degree course in Hotel Management according to Dr Florian George Mtey, the Director of Studies and Professional Activities at the National College of Tourism (NCT).

He says NCT has already created the curriculum for hotel management degree courses to fill the gap.

In Tanzania, tourism skills training is overseen by three authorities; the Tanzania Commission for Universities (TCU), which is responsible for coordinating and regulating university education; the Vocational Education Training Authority (VETA), which is responsible for coordinating, regulating, financing, providing and promoting vocational education; the National Council Technical Education (Nacte), which is responsible for coordinating, regulating and accrediting technical institutions.

Available statistics indicate that there are 116 registered institutions offering tourism and hospitality training in Tanzania from certificate to Master’s Degree, with the enrolment capacity of 12,659 students annually, distributed as 11 per cent (universities), 29 percent (technical colleges) and 60 percent (vocational institutions).

“It is important to also note that the majority (around 75 percent) of the lower-level tourism training institutions in the country are privately owned.

“Unfortunately, most of them are ill equipped both in terms of the training facilities, training agreements with the industry, programmes and a qualified workforce thereby failing to produce the skills greatly needed by the industry,” Prof Anderson writes in her research paper ‘Demand and Supply of Skills in the Tourism and Hospitality Sector in Tanzania’.

Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism’s deputy permanent secretary Allan Kijazi admits that the shortage of skilled labour in the tourism hospitality industry is still a big problem, but says efforts are being made and a lot of progress has been made to solve the problem.

He says the establishment of the National College of Tourism with its campuses in Arusha and Mwanza is part of the efforts.

“We are working on arrangements to increase cooperation with institutions from overseas in Italy and Switzerland on tourism skills development,” Dr Kijazi says.

Prof Anderson who has conducted extensive research on skills development in the tourism and hospitality sector says efforts to improve training in the industry should go together with increasing salaries.

“The employers’ survey broadly shows that the tourism and hospitality sector is characterized by low salaries… This may discourage people from being trained in tourism and hospitality or working in the sector,” Prof Anderson says in her research report.

Tourism training in Tanzania originates from the 1960s when the British-owned Hallmark Hotels Ltd started hotel training facility, Tanzania Hotel School, to provide basic skills in front office operations, housekeeping & laundry, food production and food & beverage techniques.

In 1969 the training facility was nationalized renamed Hotel & Tourism Training Institute (HTTI) and handed over to the Tanzania Tourist Corporation (TTC).

In 1977, the institute was handed over to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism. In 2003 the facility was renamed National College of Tourism (NCT).


Source link : https://allafrica.com/stories/202110040071.html

Author : Citizen

Publish date : 2021-10-04 06:21:02

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