FOCUS ON TOURISM IN TANZANIA: TANAPA TO PROP UP MORE TOURIST CIRCUITS

From JAMES LANKA, in Moshi-Kilimanjaro.

Ten out of the country’s 15 National Parks are located in the Southern
and Western Circuits but almost all Tanzanian bound tourists end up
visiting only the Northern Circuit instead.

The Director General for the Tanzania National Parks (TANAPA) Mr Allan
Kijazi said the Northern Circuit which essentially sells mainly  the
Serengeti National Park, Mount Kilimanjaro, Lake Manyara, Arusha and
Tarangire Game Parks, attracts nearly 90 percent of the 960,000
foreign visitors touring the country annually.

“Soon the Saa-Nane Island of Mwanza located on Lake Victoria will make
the country’s 16thNational Park, while Ruaha which is found in the
Southern Circuit happens to be the biggest National Park, yet as far
as tourists are concerned, Tanzania is the land of Serengeti and
Kilimanjaro,” said Mr Kijazi appealing to the media to promote the
underrated Western and Southern tourism circuits.

Other unsung but Tanzania’s attractions with tourism potential include
the Islands like the Rubondo of Mwanza, Lake Tanganyika peninsulas
such as Gombe and Mahale and the virgin Edens found within Katavi
National Park.

“The government is already working to open up the Southern Corridor
through ambitious road construction projects but more efforts are
needed to make the world aware of the south and encourage tourists to
sample the Western and Southern attractions of Tanzania,” maintained
the TANAPA Director General.

Mr Kijazi was speaking in during the special domestic tourism training
for Northern Zone journalists who are working in Arusha, Kilimanjaro,
Manyara and Tanga regions and who converged in Moshi for the TANAPA
organized two-day seminar.

It is reported that nearly 90 percent of tourists visiting the country
prefer to gaze at wild animals and 80 percent of all tourists end up
in the Northern Regions of Arusha and Kilimanjaro and generating
revenue of nearly  shs 100 billion per annum.  Tourism ranks second
after mining as the country’s leading cash earner.

Mr Kijazi is on view that the country stands to gain much more if the
other tourist attractions in the West and South would be opened up and
highly promoted globally.

The Director General also pointed out that, domestic tourism was
almost non-existent with very few locals visiting the country’s
attractions and admitted that the high costs of travel and hotel
accommodation hampered the growth of this segment adding that TANAPA
was working to remedy the situation.

“Park entrances are still very low at just 1500/- for Tanzanians, but
the challenge of transport and accommodation is what we are currently
working on in collaboration with the private sector,” he said.

Ends.

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