TATO CEO appointed Goodwill Ambassador for Green Tourism Active

Green Tourism Active has unanimously appointed Tanzania Association of Tour Operators (TATO) chief executive officer, Mr. Sirili Akko, as its Goodwill Ambassador for East Africa, flying Tanzania’s flag high.

Green Tourism Active (GTA) is a global sustainability-assessment certification and awards organization, which is Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) recognized.

For the last 5 years, Mr. Akko, an accomplished CEO with solid training in the corporate world, has been at the helm of TATO, a leading lobby and advocacy agency for the multi-billion-dollar tourism industry in the natural-resource-rich country, Tanzania.

“It gives me great pleasure to inform you that the Board of Green Tourism Active has decided to appoint you as Goodwill Ambassador with main focus on Tanzania and the EAC countries, effectively July 1, 2019,” reads part of the letter of appointment signed by GTA Marketing Executive Hans Jurgen-Heuer.

Dr. Jurgen-Heuer said although Mr Akko’s main focus and influence would be in the EAC bloc, he is essentially not limited to that geographical region.

Much as he undertakes many travels, the GTA believes he would take its message across the world.

“On behalf of us all, may I welcome you onboard; we look forward to a mutually rewarding engagement and thank you in advance for joining us,” he wrote.

Mr. Akko is the head of the TATO secretariat, an executive arm of the association with 300-plus members and is virtually responsible for carving out and implementing advocacy strategies for the tourism industry from its members’ point of view.

He is, among other things, charged with spearheading negotiations with the government and other parties to TATO and the industry at large.

A calm personality, the bright young professional often puts on his face coupled with fine diplomatic qualities that he holds which have partly contributed to raise the profile higher lately of TATO and Tanzania’s tourism industry.

The country’s tourism earnings swelled to $2.43 billion in 2018, up from $2.19 billion in 2017, while tourist arrivals totaled 1.49 million compared with 1.33 million a year before.

The success story in the tourism industry’s growth will never be complete without mentioning Mr. Akko for his role as the TATO CEO.

Known for his intransigent stance in supporting wildlife conservation, the TATO CEO is also credited as a straightforward person, with a high capacity of negotiations in almost all areas of life.

Tanzania Rift Valley Tours Managing Director Rashid Mtungi, a longtime TATO member, said Mr. Akko possesses an amazing gift of mobilizing people into solving problems, as he always insists on focusing on wide interests.

“Based on the little time I knew him in his capacity as TATO executive officer, I can say Mr. Akko is extremely gifted in inventing options for mutual gains, by pointing out interests’ convergence,” Mr. Mtungi explained, adding, “I don’t remember any failed dialogue under his watch.”

Since he rarely shares his personal experience with the public, not so much is known about the young CEO.

Having worked hard on his way up, available records testify that Mr. Akko was not born with life handed to him on a silver platter, he has had to, against all odds, work for his spot in the tourism world right from the get-go.

Born and raised at Nangwa Village in Hanang District in the Manyara Region in northern Tanzania, Mr. Akko comes from a typically humble African family.

During his early years, he had to rear goats and cows, the most common practice among boys raised in rural setups.

Mr. Akko has significantly spent his early life on volunteering in different grassroots NGOs, including the Longido Community Integrated Program under the supervision of Dr. Steven Kiruswa, the incumbent Member of Parliament for the Longido Constituency.

It was during that time that he developed a keen interest in rural development.

Upon completion of his high school education and with the influence of rural development programmes he served during the holidays, Mr. Akko joined the Institute of Accountancy Arusha for an undergraduate program in pursuit of accountancy studies.

Compelled by his rural development calling, he worked with an international NGO, World Vision Tanzania, for a few years before he joined TATO.

His first area of focus at TATO was to raise the profile of the organization within the country and beyond, the role he is credited to have done well with energy and enthusiasm.

With the current appointment as Goodwill Ambassador, Mr. Akko hopes to learn a lot from a wide range of expertise available at the GTA.

He expects his presence among the GTA team members would add to the diversity of cultures and expertise, one of the key valuable ingredients of the body with a global status.

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