UNWTO puts Tanzania’s tourism in a limelight as it nods to TATO 

Affiliate membership is a fundamental tool for increasing competitiveness among private sector actors in travel and tourism industry.

SATURDAY October 21, 2023

Tanzania’s private sector is now the country’s affiliate member. PHOTO | UWTO

By Adam Ihucha

The Tranquility News Correspondent, Tanzania

The World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) has formally admitted the Tanzania Association of Tour Operators (TATO) as a new affiliate member, raising the country’s tourism profile high.

The UNWTO is a UN-affiliated agency representing 159 member countries, vested with the most important function of fostering the global travel and tourism industry.

TATO, is Tanzania’s leading members-only group advocating for over 300 private expert tour operators in the country, which is home to the number one safari destination in the world.

“I’ve the pleasure to welcome Tanzania Association of Tour Operators to the UNWTO, as your admission has been approved on 18th of October 2023, during the 25th Session of the General Assembly, held in Samarkand, Uzbekistan,” announced the UNWTO Director for Affiliate Members, Ambassador Ion Vilcu.

Ambassador Vilcu added: “Consequently, hereinafter, you are considered UNWTO affiliate member, benefiting from all the services and rights inherent to your membership to the organisation.”

The UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Director for Affiliate Members, Ambassador Ion Vilcu (Second Right), hands over a certificate of admission to Tanzania Association of Tour Operators (TATO) Chairman, Mr Wilbard Chambulo, during the 25th UNWTO General Assembly held in Samarkand, Uzbekistan, recently, flanked by the TATO Board Member, Ms Vesna Glamocanin Tibaijuka (Left), and the TATO CEO, Mr Sirili Akko. PHOTO | COURTESY

He said the UNWTO considers the private sector as an important partner in fulfilling its general mandate for the promotion of sustainable tourism development and the achievement of the 2030 Agenda.

“Within this context, we recognise the great potential for collaborating with your entity to contribute towards the creation of a more ethical and responsible tourism industry, for the benefit of the international community, and we are delighted that your entity has decided to join the over 400 already existing UNWTO affiliate members,” Ambassador Vilcu explained.

It is understood, the UNWTO affiliate member serves as the major gateway for alliances and collaboration between the private and public sectors in tourism industry across the world.

“Joining as affiliate member allows your entity to achieve local, regional, national and global visibility through the UNWTO network and channels. The affiliate membership is a fundamental tool for increasing competitiveness of the private sector actors in the tourism industry,” reads a UNWTO document.

The UNWTO networks serve as a venue for active collaboration where UNWTO member states and affiliate members can interact, share and access relevant information.

The Chairman of Tanzania Association of Tour Operators (TATO), Mr Wilbard Chambulo (Left), poses for a souvenir photo with the Secretary-General of the UNWTO, Zurab Pololikashvili (Second Left) along with TATO Board Member, Mrs Vesna Glamocanin Tibaijuka, and TATO CEO, Mr Sirili Akko, during the 25th UN-affiliate General Assembly held in Samarkand, Uzbekistan. PHOTO | COURTESY

Furthermore, TATO would benefit from the platform by generating, disseminating and applying specialised knowledge to take advantage of the great potential for addressing pressing tourism-related issues of common interest such as skills transfer and access to cutting-edge technologies from a variety of sectors.

The Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism, Ms Angellah Kairuki, was quick to congratulate TATO for qualifying the affiliate membership of the global tourism body.

“I wish to commend Tanzania Association of Tour Operators for laying the Tanzania private sector intertwined with this key global tourism intergovernmental body,” said Ms Kairuki, who is the Vice-Chairperson of the 25th UNWTO General Assembly.

“I’m so excited for TATO being embraced as affiliate member of UNWTO. This is a major step forward to position our country as the best tourism and investment destination in the world’s map,” said TATO Chairman, Mr Wilbard Chambulo, who led a high-profile delegation at the key UNWTO meeting.

Mr Chambulo told the dollar-billionaires attending the UNWTO investment forum that Tanzania had competitive advantage when it came to natural and cultural attractions, as the country boasts having highest concentrations of wildlife per square kilometer than anywhere else in the World.

” I wish to commend Tanzania Association of Tour Operators for making Tanzania private sector to be intertwined into this key global tourism intergovernmental body,” the Tanzania’s Natural Resources and Tourism Minister, Ms Angellah Kairuki. “

“We are here to tell the world’s investors to support our conservation stewardship. We invite you to come and invest in Tanzania to spur economic growth which will, in turn, generate funds for conservation and creation of jobs for the locals who have sacrificed parts of their ancestral lands to safeguard them,” Mr Chambulo explained.

Tanzania houses four of the most coveted adventure destinations on earth; the Serengeti, Mount Kilimanjaro, Zanzibar and Ngorongoro Crater.

The primary mission of TATO is to support the Tanzania’s vast members of tour operators, who create and curate challenging expeditions to expansive savannas of the Serengeti or coordinate complicated Mount Kilimanjaro climbs.

Travel agents depend on tour operators all around the globe to provide safe, well-orchestrated journeys.

TATO provides its members with a platform for staying connected with the travel field that is also directly linked to the conservation of endangered wildlife, climate change mitigation and cultural preservation.


After attending the 25th UNWTO forum, the TATO mission will fly to Turkey to continue promoting Tanzania as the best safari destination in a bid to woo both tourists and investors, the TATO CEO, Mr Sirili Akko, said.

“TATO will be meeting with investors in a variety of different business sectors in Istanbul, Turkey. Tanzania is one of the few African countries eager to discuss new business ventures with Turkish entrepreneurial investors who are looking for supporting and growing a vast number of export products within the country,” Mr Akko explained.

More importantly, TATO will provide an exciting new conduit for Turkish investors to pick and choose emerging new Tanzanian businesses that would ordinarily not have access to the outside world, let alone investors looking for projects to fosterΩ

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