Astro-tourism development in Tanzania

Tourism is a leading source of revenue for the Tanzanian Government (17% GDP, 25% foreign exchange). Basically, one-third of the country hosts dark skies in game parks and nature reserves; and geographic location near equator allows 90% of the night sky to be seen between dusk and dawn; and 16-ton Mbozi meteorite in Mbeya can all be exploited for astro-tourism from developed nations plagued by light pollution, provide employment for local tour guides, showcase oneness of night sky, and protect it from light pollution. Tanzania also hosts plenty of national parks and game reserves. In Tanzania, there is a National College of Tourism (NCT) which is a dedicated government institution for training in hospitality and tourism and provides basic certificates and Diploma in various Tourism related programmes. The Open University of Tanzania (OUT) is a public academic institution leading in astronomy and with astro-tourism focus, having a tourism department also. The Astro-Tourism is a new field that need to be integrated in the curriculum in both institutions.
The major two project activities are the (i) Academic Curriculum Development and the (ii) Short Course Training for Astro-Tour Guides.
The project aims at capacity building among the existing Tour Guides, introduce new field of Astro Tourism in Tanzania by establishing a scheme of service in the Government and Private Sectors. The target groups include College Students in NCT, OUT, Secondary School Teachers, and Tour Guides. Such programs are within the scope and goals of the chosen Institutions especially programs that provide new and self employment skills. The two host institutions are hence relevant for this project.


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