By Dane Gibson
The east African country of Tanzania is known for its vast wilderness areas and expansive Indian Ocean coastlines.
While tourism in Tanzania attracts more than one million visitors annually and has been growing at an average rate of 12 per cent over the past decade, very few Tanzanians work in the managerial ranks of the industry, which is dominated by foreigners.
In an effort to change that, the Tanzanian National College of Tourism has partnered with Vancouver Island University to help build an undergraduate degree program that will provide university-level hospitality and tourism training to Tanzanians.
“Currently the National College of Tourism offers diplomas in tourism and hospitality,” said Aggie Weighill, chairwoman of VIU’s recreation and tourism department. “What we are embarking on here is building a curriculum, an undergraduate degree program, which trains the next generation of Tanzanian managers in both of these industries.”
Weighill and her team, with Tanzanian educators and administrators, are laying the groundwork on which the new degree program will be built.
“This differs from other partnerships that focus on capacity building of individuals,” said Weighill. “This is about helping an institution, through collaboration, develop a program of courses that prepare students for management positions. We are building a system that will serve many and I’m very proud to be a part of it.”
The project is currently in its inception phase. Together with the Tanzanian college, VIU faculty will develop a three-year work plan that will lead to the launch of the new degree program by 2019.
Dane Gibson is a writer in VIU’s communications department.