Exploratory research: The Corona Crisis in Northern Tanzania

In March Lisa Ann Richey conducted some exploratory research on the corona crisis and tourism in Northern Tanzania, as part of our wider interest in how Corona has affected people working in the tour industry as travel was restricted, and many in the Arusha-Kilimanjaro area depend on tourist income for their livelihood.

“Life in Tanzania went on as usual. Except for those in tourism” – All respondents told a similar story about what happened to their companies or work under corona. In Northern Tanzania, the impacts were immediate as trips were cancelled, with the industry struggling to figure out what had happened. This is especially apparent in the context of a country, where the crisis status of corona remains debated.

Lisa explored everyday humanitarianism – practices in the everyday lives of citizens that are engaging in humanitarianism outside of the formal structures of humanitarian actions – in the context of the corona crisis, finding different forms of assistance that ordinary citizens were mutually engaging in. Different forms of helping ranged from supply provision among family members to the utilization of international networks to collect support funding from foreign visitors.

Interestingly, the standstill brought forth by corona provided opportunities for Tanzanians in the tourism industry to diversify their business practices. Many took the crisis as a chance to change their business practices or even change to new professions, for example some shifted to bodaboda driving or organized themselves into farming groups. In the region, Corona was a reminder that one may not always be able to rely on tourism and hence people looked for new opportunities; “Covid exposed gaps in the way we were operating, so we now plan that Covid is one crisis, but there will be more, so we need to diversify our business and not just depend on foreign tourists”. If you want to find out more about Lisa’s exploratory findings please reach out to her lri.msc@cbs.dk

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