Tuesday, June 19, 2007

That's Moving Foward...(2)

I’m not trying to be apologetic, but it is not my intention to come hard on my fellow Bongolanders on every corner and on every occasion. I don’t think that everything is so bad in Tanzania. It is just making changes I suggest will make us a much better society. May that is because I don’t just like the minimum. If we can go 10 miles, let’s go there, though 5 could be “adequate”. Successful individuals and societies shoot for improvement.

Let me ask this: what was wrong with the way we used to listen to music in 2003? Absolutely nothing! But Mac folks thought we could have iPods. Of course the reason behind Mac’s innovation was to make money, but the company knew that customers who appreciate something better will consume the iPod. The improvement phenomenon is not confined to Western societies alone, but it happens even in Tanzania. Though we could say that change in Tanzania happens at a very slower pace. So when I give my take, it is just I believe in changing.

That being established, I just wanted to say that I always get thrilled when the right stuff happens in Tanzania. The latest news is that the Tanzanian government will embark on a tourist advertising campaign in the United States and Canada through CNN and various US airports.

You can freely access the article right here.

If anything, this is moving forward. See, I am believer in taking personal responsibility for one’s destiny. I know there have been folks who ascribe to this belief that Africa is not making progress because the West is holding the keys to our breakthrough. To me that is a bunch of baloney. OK, let’s assume the West actually have our keys. What makes someone think that the West will just hand over the keys?

Unlike some folks who are still holding to the “blame the West” mantra, the Tanzanian government is certainly showing signs of maturity. We could ask why it took the government too long to aggressively advertise our tourist attractions, but I will give them credit for taking this first step. I applaud them for realizing that crying wolf against the West will not help, but drawing own strategies is the key.

It is my hope that along with the advertising campaign, the government will embark on a deliberate move to prepare indigenous service providers on the best customer service practices. That is because I think that customer service in Tanzania, generally speaking, needs improvement.

Regardless of everything else, I think spending advertising shillings to attract tourists is definitely moving forward…and in the right direction.
Photo Credit: Mjengwa


Wayne said...

Good point - whether you are talking Africa, or the Caribbean or the south-Pacific - one needs to "sell" ones strong points (tourism in Tz being one that can definitely be developed), while building the resolve to deal with the weak points (poverty, AIDS, etc...)Tourism dollars can then be used to build the social infrastructure to deal with the problems.

Jaduong Metty said...

Thanks for dropping by. There have been this notion that Africans can't penetrate the Western market, but from my perspective, those arguments are weak. How can consumers in the West know of your products if you don't advertise, for instance?

Wayne said...

Quite true Metty. A very simple example that I am familiar with: I lived in the south (Masasi District) and had the opportunity to spend some time with the manager of Mbinga coffee. I am a bit of a coffee hound and really appreciate a good cup of coffee. Mbinga coffee is excellent!!! When the manager asked me why they were not able to penetrate the US / European market, I explained to him that although their "packaging" might well be quite adequate for the Tz market, no one in the US is going to buy a can of Mbinga coffee simply because the container had no eye appeal (in fact, from a Mzungu perspective, it has (had?) negative eye appeal). I tried to explain that having a good product is only one small part of the whole marketing picture. Kilimanjaro Gold is an example of a pretty decent product (but not as good as Mbinga coffee, in my opinion), but the packaging and promotion is top notch - hence they have captured a very large portion of the Japanese coffee market. The point is you have to offer much more than just a good product - you have to offer a "marketable" product - and THERE IS a difference. This may mean, if one truly wants to penetrate the western market, that money will have to be spent on hiring high end marketing firms who know and understand the west.
The leadership of Tz needs to be aware of the fact that advertising for tourism in the US & Canada is only part of the answer - they will need to build a tourism infrastructure, or they will get no repeat customers. With all of the fujo & makalele going on in Kenya just now, Tz needs to hit while the iron is hot and they have a window of opportunity to truly market what Tz has to offer in the area of tourism.

Jaduong Metty said...

This the question that I had asked a while back. Even if the Tz government will advertize in the US, which demographic group are they targeting? Essentially, who is the tourist that they are targeting?

As you pointed out, there could possibly be no plans to align internal infrastucture with the expected expansion as a result of the marketing campaign. Again, that comes from understanding and managing the Western's customers expectations.

The question is: is there anybody in the Tz government who truly understands what we are talking about?