Monday, 9 June 2014

The Movie Blended: Why it was done in South Africa and not Tanzania

The Movie Blended
Last June, Tanzania was voted the best Safari Country in Africa by Some of the reasons given among many were; superb wildlife, the great annual wildebeest migration across the Serengeti and Masai Mara, the exquisite authentic African wilderness, availability of wide ranging budget safari options, beautiful sandy beaches of Zanzibar and political stability of the country. Tanzania is well blessed with good tourist attraction and hospitable people. We have prided ourselves as such. In the East African region, Tanzania competes with her neighbor Kenya in the tourism sector. Both countries rely significantly on tourism as a source of foreign revenue. In addition to Kenya's somewhat better physical transport infrastructure, the country has advertised itself better internationally as a centre of tourism in the region. Kenya has branded itself better than Tanzania. Just two weeks ago, a picture ran in various social media sites of the new Kenya Airways (KQ) dreamliner christened Mt. Kilimanjaro. There was the usual hue and cry from a section of Tanzanians that Kenya is 'stealing' our mountain.
A scene in South Africa in the movie blended
I just watched the movie Blended, which stars Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore. This romantic comedy further highlights Tanzania's lack of aggressive tourism advertisement. A blind date between Jim Friedman (Adam Sandler) and Lauren Reynolds (Drew Barrymore) went bad and as fate would have it land tickets to a family vacation in Africa. Their destination was to this family resort in South Africa. The great tourist attractions of South Africa are showcased in the movie. Their national parks, their cultures, hospitality (can't match Tanzania's) and the general experience. What great advertisement!

As the best safari country in Africa, I was expecting the tourism ministry in Tanzania to have lobbied hard to showcase our country (Do they even know about the movie in the first place?). The ostrich ride cannot match beauties of the Great Ruaha National Park, the hot balloon ride can be matched by the Serengeti balloon experience. We could showcase the vast Ngorongoro escarpments, the mighty Kilimanjaro, the beautiful Zanzibar, the chimps in Gombe National Park. Or the plains of Serenora and Lobo in Serengeti which are the habitats of lions, cheetahs, leopards, rhinos, elephants, warthogs, baboons, monkeys etc. But again, the government is doing nothing to the ever increasing poaching activities in our parks. Elephant and rhino tusks are traded like bananas. The government vacuously watches on with government officials implicated in this illicit trade. Again I ask myself, maybe it is good that the movie opted for South Africa. When will we learn? As they say "Let sleeping dogs lie."