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Who Will Advocate For Small TO's In Tanzania?

Yaounde, Cameroon
11 posts
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Who Will Advocate For Small TO's In Tanzania?

I am a young traveler from Cameroon and haven't really been used to using forums like this because in Cameroon, we care less about tourism. For the 4months I have been in Tanzania, I have not been opportune to go on a safari trip yet, but have been carefully studying different companies and reviews from past travelers as well as what the experts have to say. I very much appreciate the word of experts, but what hurts me the most is that, none ever recommends a still growing tour operator. They only recommend the big ones they've known for years. I believe that as experts, it's time to write and advice someone about giving a try to other little companies not just the big ones you've known with all their services which is way very expensive to so many budget travelers.

I now understand why some travelers would rather let a flycatcher bring them to multiple companies so as to compare rather than listen to experts who will only recommend companies that will charge them what they can't afford to pay.

This is to you all the experts. I also notice that when it comes to the bad comments about little companies, you jump into it very fast even if you know nothing about it. Be experts for the established and still growing companies. Small companies need you to be their voices for they've got very little funds for ads and have to depend solely on flycatchers which is not bad for these guys feed from the commission they make by bringing tourists to small companies, a commission they don't get when they bring the same tourist to the big companies.

Respond to this if you're an expert or an advocate for small companies and please do so with some dignity.

Findlay, Ohio
Destination Expert
for Tanzania, Ngorongoro Conservation Area
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12,485 posts
8 reviews
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1. Re: Who Will Advocate For Small TO's In Tanzania?

Snoovy.. you are sadly mistaken. Those of us who are prone to comment quite a bit on here are not just going for the "big" operators. We are typically trying to match those who are unknowing to come to Tz for a great holiday/vacation. In matching we need to provide information which we are familiar with; and that may a big safari operator, or a small safari operator. No one on here is advocating for some few safari operators.

I personally have suggested from time to time, Basecamp Tanzania quite a few times (a small family operator with a small office in the Rose Garden Convention Centre), Park East Africa (another small family operator with a small office in the New Safari Hotel), There have been numerous others, along with some of the larger safari operators when the need demanded it.

The other thing which myself and others try to do is to keep touts off this forum by exposing them. And we will continue to do that. I'm not certain if you are touting for someone or for some specific operator; but if you are be warned you cannot do that on this forum. This forum is specifically for fellow travelers to offer advice to other travelers; it is not a forum for safari operators to try and gain business.

So with that in mind, most travelers to Tanzania have used one or two different safari operators, thus by definition they can only comment on what they know. If these were "big" operators then they will comment on them, if they were a small operation just starting out then they will comment on them.

I don't think you have looked at many posts on here, if you had you would find many posts commenting good and bad on small safari operators just starting out. And by definition, those just starting out will not have many comments, they haven't been in business long enough to have sufficient clients to comment here. Not everyone who travels to Tz comments on this forum.

So, please look at the rules for posting on this forum (you will see that it is for fellow travelers, not fellow business safari operators, albeit there are some safari operators who do post here but never on themselves). This forum offers fellow travelers good travel advice IMO.

Ottawa, Canada
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11,160 posts
150 reviews
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2. Re: Who Will Advocate For Small TO's In Tanzania?

I understand your concerns for the small TO. I agree that there are a limited list here, but there are slowly those new and upcoming companies who have shown good work and honest treatment of their clients, who make it to regular recommendations and conversations. Last year, Safari Infinity was hardly known, but one regular poster tried them and has used them twice in the past year. Others are now considering them.

If I could, I would love to visit Arusha and see myself what the smaller companies are truly offering. Unfortunately, it is the few bad ones, that give a bad name to the other small companies. And when clients are spending so much money to travel to Tanzania, a bad experience is talked about. Also, unfortunately, the average traveller who isn't a back packer, doesn't have the time to go and arrange last minute.

There are other websites that review travel. Perhaps these give broader experience reviews to a variety of TOs.

Also, many use other companies than the ones posted here.

And if Tanzania had a way to monitor TOs and a way we can view a list it would help. Right now, even the TATO and Tanzania Tourism websites are not functioning. I know in Arusha, there is a wall of shame but we can't see that from North America or Europe.

I am not saying you are wrong to ask this question. And perhaps you are in a position to explain to the small companies the importance of a website, and honesty and integrity in the product they provide. Wasting time picking up a bunch of people throughout a safari is the biggest complaint. Get a group in Arusha and from there keep them together and provide the tour. Don't mix up 3, 4 and 5 day passengers to save money. Have good mechanics who keep your vehicles in good repair. I have spent time in Tanzania, I know these all cost money. But sometimes it takes money to make money.

Good luck, rafiki.

Minneapolis...
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4,493 posts
131 reviews
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3. Re: Who Will Advocate For Small TO's In Tanzania?

I'm sorry, Snoovy... I believe your post stems from a fundamental misunderstanding about the purpose of this forum.

I post on Tripadvisor travel forums for two reasons: To get information to enrich my travel experiences, and to try to give back by helping other folks enjoy their travel experiences.

This forum isn't intended as a site to help new businesses find success. This isn't a site to boost tourism. This is a site where travelers share travel experiences.

The way it works is:

A new business is created.

They provide a good product. T

heir clients report on those good experiences.

Potential clients hear those reports and feel better about using the company.

In other words - it is up to the company to build a good reputation - not up to us to steer people to the companies so they can try to build a business.

Imagine if ths was a forum about surgeons. There are experienced surgeons and surgeons just starting their careers. If somebody asks me, I am going to tell them about a surgeon who I know does good work through my experiences or through a reputation developed over a period of time.

Does this help the young inexperienced surgeon build a new practice? No. But that's not my job. Somebody asks me for a good surgeon, I'll tell them what I know... I won't suggest they find a new person and give him a chance because he might turn out to be good at his job.

I'm certainly not an expert, but I do post regularly. If somebody asks, I tell them I really liked my TO, and I tell them why.

In effect, you are telling us to say "There are lots of good TOs in Tanzania with good reputations - but we think you should go with somebody who comes up to you on the street because they might be good people who provide a good product..."

Simply nonsense.

Nashville, Tennessee
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2,273 posts
205 reviews
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4. Re: Who Will Advocate For Small TO's In Tanzania?

"Who Will Advocate For Small TO's In Tanzania?"

No one needs to advocate for them. This is a travel forum not an advertising forum. This is for travellers to post their experiences. As above, provide good service at a fair price and people will come to you.

Tanzania should be advocating for them by having a functioning TATO that enforces rules, regulations, standards and punishments. This is a travel forum.

Edited: 04 April 2013, 16:43
Yaounde, Cameroon
11 posts
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5. Re: Who Will Advocate For Small TO's In Tanzania?

I am happy to get reactions from you all. If I am here, it's not for any particular company, but I was just not happy when I see some post that quote big companies. As you all know, whatever you say as experts, go far and is taken very seriously. If I joined this forum, it's first of all as a traveler, and also to learn new things everyday. 3 Years back, I used this site to compare flight and hotel prices only, but traveling to other countries has made me to understand more about forums.

I think there should be a site in this forum, that lists good small tour operators. But honestly, there are small TO's that offer great services and I cannot list down those companies friends of mine who've been on a safari here have told me because I do not want to favor any company until I get to experience that myself. But still, I hope small TO's will receive credits someday as big ones do.

Please when you experts want to reply, please make it a little short so that I could easily read and respond to each persons comment for you write different stuffs that should be addressed differently.

Yaounde, Cameroon
11 posts
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6. Re: Who Will Advocate For Small TO's In Tanzania?

Stephen, thanks for your post. I talked about advocacy not ads. I believe there's a difference between the two.

london
Destination Expert
for Zambia, Selous Game Reserve, Ruaha National Park
Level Contributor
4,967 posts
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7. Re: Who Will Advocate For Small TO's In Tanzania?

I also don't think you understand what "the experts" are- if you mean the Destination Experts.

Destination Experts are just regular posters who have been nominated as especially helpful. They're not employed by TripAdvisor, nor are they some sort of Tourist Board for their destination. They will recommend based on their own experience and knowledge just like any other poster. And, as people have said above, no one, including the Destination Experts, will recommend a company unless they have good reason (preferably experience) to think that the company will provide a good service.

london
Destination Expert
for Zambia, Selous Game Reserve, Ruaha National Park
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4,967 posts
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8. Re: Who Will Advocate For Small TO's In Tanzania?

>friends of mine who've been on a safari here have told me

Well, if the small companies are not getting mentioned on TripAdvisor, you've only got your friends to blame. It's up to them, the customers of these companies, to come on TripAdvisor themselves and tell their experiences.

Don't blame it on people who have never travelled with these companies for not recommending them!

Nashville, Tennessee
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2,273 posts
205 reviews
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9. Re: Who Will Advocate For Small TO's In Tanzania?

There may well be a difference, but this is not an advocacy forum either. It is a travel forum. There should not be a forum for small operators. This is a travel forum, not advocacy or advertising. Tell your friends to establish themselves by posting legitimate reviews of the operators they used. It is their fault, not the experts here.

Once again, this is a traveler forum, not an operator forum. NO advocacy or advertising.

Ottawa, Canada
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11,160 posts
150 reviews
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10. Re: Who Will Advocate For Small TO's In Tanzania?

You know, I don't mind Snoovy's post, though it clearly offends others. On other pages of Trip Advisor, and here, people such as volunteers, or prospective residents ask about how to get rooms long term, or post articles from newspapers, or discuss politics. all these have a long arm to travelling and are allowed. One can choose to participate or not.

Perhaps it is the 'do gooder' and as I have spent time there, but I have empathy for the struggles of the new TOs. Perhaps the wording (not in his first language, by the way) may not have the finesse to split hairs to satisfy guidelines and perceptions, but I accept the post.

I am sure Snoovy has learned something today.