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Kili Marathon good for Tanzania tourism

Can you tell us the brief history of Wild Frontiers?

Wild Frontiers is the brainchild of two people, John and Debbie Addison. The two established the company in 1991, aiming at offering specialist tour operation services into the East, West and Southern Africa. We knew it would be easy for us to run such a company, due to the very fact that we have been involved in the tourism business for many years.

Personally, I have been a guide in most parts of Africa for over 20 years. Like any other company that operates legally, we started by seeking legal documents (licences) and having acquired them in South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda and in Zimbabwe, we shifted our attention to joining relevant associations as well as working with relevant government bodies in all the countries that we operate in.

So who do you work with in Tanzania?
Our Tanzanian outfit which is wholly Tanzanian managed, is a member of TATO [Tanzania Tour Operators Association]. In Tanzania, we also run camps and mobile camps in the Serengeti and Ngorongoro. We are also the proud organizer of the famous Kilimanjaro Marathon which creates room for us to cooperate with a number of Tanzanian companies including Tanzania Breweries Limited through its Kilimanjaro Premium Lager brand, the main sponsor of the event; Gapco Tanzania and Vodacom Tanzania who sponsor the Half Disabled Marathon and the 5km fun run respectively.

We also cooperate with a number of committed  Tanzanian firms that co-sponsor the event.
In the same vein, with the able assistance of TTB [Tanzania Tourist Board], we have been involved in major marketing campaigns to help grow tourism and investment in Tanzania. We are also into a number of social responsibility projects with the Kingsley Holgate Foundation and United Against Malaria as well as with many other overseas donors mainly in malaria prevention and school upgrading, all for the general good of Tanzania.

In Uganda, where we also operate camp, lodges, vehicles and boats, we are a member of AUTO [the Association of Uganda Tour Operators] while in South Africa, Wild Frontiers is an active member of SATOA / ASATA (the South African Tour Operators Association), as well as SATSA (South African Tour & Safari Association). All operations have full public and passenger liability insurance.

Most Tanzanians know Wild Frontiers as one of the brains behind Kilimanjaro Marathon. How did you get involved in this internationally-applauded event?

It was sheer coincidence that when I was thinking about it, a Tanzanian sports enthusiast, Leonard Mandara, was also contemplating the same. I shared the idea with the Member of Parliament for Moshi Urban constituency, Hon Philemon Ndesamburo and out of fluke, Mandara also did the same at his own time.

We then decided to work as a team and our first joint consultative meeting was held at Keys Hotel in Moshi in 2002. Mandara was tasked with the duty of looking for a credible sponsor and that was how he went to see Aggrey Marealle who was then the National Public Affairs Manager at Tanzania Breweries Limited (TBL) Headquarters.Aggrey then proposed the idea to the then Kilimanjaro Premium Lager Brand Manager Goldman Nsherenguzi and in 2003, we were able to turn the dream into reality and that is how the Kilimanjaro Marathon was born, with Kilimanjaro Premium Lager as its chief sponsor ever since. We are most greatful to Kilimanjaro Premium Lager for 10 years of sustained athletics development.

But how do you promote tourism through Kilimanjaro Marathon?
From the onset, our intention has been to grow the development of sports and adventure tourism in the regions in which we operate. With that background, Kilimanjaro Marathon remains one of the most important channels. This year for example, we brought nearly 6000 runners close to the slopes of Africa’s highest mountain (Mount Kilimanjaro).

That in itself is an act of tourism promotion. The number of athletes, taking part in the event, has been going up since its inception in 2003 and that in my view, is a clear indication of our contribution to tourism promotion in Tanzania.

Do you think your initiatives are bringing any economic benefits to residents in the countries where you operate?
Our operations do benefit thousands of people in every country where we have operations in. In the first place, we employ over 200 people in South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda and Zimbabwe, who provide means of livelihood for thousands of members of their families. We also pay tax to the governments. On the other note, an event like Kilimanjaro Marathon does benefit thousands of Tanzanians which we organize in conjunction with the sponsors.

Take it this way: This year alone, nearly 6,000 athletes from 40 countries took part in the just-ended Kilimanjaro Marathon while thousands more people sat on the benches as spectators of the 10th Kilimanjaro Marathon at the Moshi University College of Cooperatives and Business Studies (MUCCoBS) Stadium on Sunday February 26, 2012.

These people ate food from restaurants that are operated by Tanzanians; they slept in hotels that are operated by Tanzanians; they used transport facilities owned by Tanzanians and were guided by Tanzanian tour operating firms among other benefits. That is the fairest way to measure our contribution to development of tourism in Tanzania and the rest of other countries where we operate.

Source: The Citizen - Online