Butiama Bed & Breakfast

Butiama Bed & Breakfast

Friday, August 19, 2011

Joas Kahembe, the godfather of cultural tourism in Tanzania

Joas Kahembe is recognized in Tanzania as the ‘doyen’ - the godfather - of cultural tourism.

Joas Kahembe at this year's Karibu Fair in Arusha.


Born in Karagwe in 1942, he worked as a coffee taster and in other capacities in the Tanzanian coffee industry between 1966 – 1979. He resigned from the coffee industry in 1979 and in 1980 began to develop cultural tourism activities through experience he gained during his international travels.

In 1992 he addressed the annual meeting of the Tanzania Tour Operators (TATO) and only two of TATO’s members at that meeting considered his concept of cultural tourism worth offering to their clientele. Other tour operators decided that ‘luxury tourism’ was inconsistent with exposing foreign visitors to a Tanzanian cultural experience.


L-R, Tome Ole Saikar of SNV, Joas Kahembe, and Birgit Steck, the outgoing SNV Senior Tourism Advisor during a recent meeting in Arusha where Kahembe presented Steck with a shield from the Tanzania Organization of Cultural Tourism Organizations (TACTO).
His relentless efforts bore fruit in 1994 when his activities were listed in the 4th edition of Brandt Backpackers Guide for Eastern, Southern Africa. He was also listed in the following publications in various editions:

·  Dutch CBI Business Bulletin (1994)
·  Lonely Planet’s Africa on a Shoestring
·  Rough Guide
·  Footprints
·  German Tansania Reise

When the Netherlands Development Organisation, SNV, decided to provide assistance to Tanzania’s cultural tourism sector the Tanzania Tourist Board (TTB) may have been selected as their Tanzanian partner only because SNV was not mandated to work with an individual (Kahembe) who was, at that time, recognized to be more than anyone else experienced with the cultural tourism concept in Tanzania.

Mr. Kahembe is the current chairperson of the Tanzania Association of Cultural Tourism Organizers (TACTO).

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