Karibu Tanzania!

Karibu Tanzania! The most heard sentence of last week and I’m so happy to hear this every morning when I walk down the street with all the locals. I left Lusaka a week ago, but it feels way longer. As I said before, I am in Tanzania now to go back to my real love: tourism. Why did I not go here directly and I first decided to travel to Uganda and Zambia? I will be honest: I did not realise that there was a business opportunity right there in the field I have experiences in and have a real passion for. During the Master program, I worked on the idea for the shared kitchen space and I didn’t really think about tourism anymore. Then there was this contact with Daliso and it felt like all puzzle pieces fell together: going to Africa to develop the concept of the shared kitchen for real. But as explained, I learned that this was not the right way to go for me at this moment and I also realised I became way more enthusiastic when I talked about tourism related businesses. So I decided it was time to listen to this inner voice, asked KLM to change my flight and here I am: back in Tanzania.

So now I will be in here for about 7 weeks. During this period, I will mainly work on 2 projects. One of the projects I will be involved in is the Young Entrepreneurship Program here in Arusha. This NGO supports small-entrepreneurs to develop and grow their businesses. The first interviews and meetings with some of them were so nice already and I will go into detail next time. It's all very inspiring and so meaningful, it makes me happy to be able to support these young entrepreneurs. It is really an eye-opener to see that they are all about my age and they have so many -financial- responsibilities for their families. This is the same in Zambia and Uganda, the ones with an income pay school fees, hospital costs, clothes and any other kind of financial support for the family, extended family and community. This makes it very hard to save up money for the company to re-invest so that the business can grow.

Besides, I will work together with a tour guide who organises safaris. My family and I have been supporting him from a distance for almost a year already. Christopher was our guide during our safari in 2011 and my parents met him again last year. They offered him to improve his website, but it turned out we managed all the proposals, quotations and bookings and Christopher sold more tours than ever before. A real potential and I will see how to make this more professional and how I can make it a sustainable business for both him and myself. We will look for new and exciting packages to offer and think about a way to make the traditional safari more meaningful by adding a social touch. Tanzania has so much more to offer than the wildlife in the Serengeti! I did have this experience myself and would love to share that with others.

Seven years ago, I went here on holidays with my family. I was 16 years old, was about to start my last year high school and I was thinking about what to study and what choices I should make for my future. Before, I always wanted to become a doctor so I could work in Africa and could make difference. It turned out, I had absolutely no clue about science and mathematics and I knew I had to forget about this career path. But what could I do to still have an impact on peoples life? That answer I got during the trip to Tanzania. We stayed at a lodge, where the revenue of the accommodation supported social projects. This really inspired me and I realised that tourism could have a huge impact on a community and a destination. I ended up studying Tourism Destination Management at the NHTV and became more and more passionate about this interesting and booming industry. So time to work on this and share these kind of experiences to inspire others!


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