Friday, November 10, 2017

Sh340bn tourism loan comes at right moment

When one talks about tourism in Tanzania, the northern tourism circuit immediately comes to mind, with Arusha as it’s hub. This is despite Tanzania being phenomenally-endowed countrywide with tourist attractions, both natural and historic/man-made.

Location of the attractions range from Zanzibar off the Indian Ocean’s African coastline to the Katavi National Park on the shores of Lake Tanganyika, the world’s deepest and longest fresh water lake! That’s to say nothing of the southern tourist circuit, teeming with tourist attractions that are barely tapped for their potential earnings. For, it’s in southern Tanzania that we’ve the historic Kilwa Ruins, the Selous Game Reserve – at 50,000 square kilometres, one of the world’s largest faunal reserves – the three-some Mikumi, Ruaha and Udzungwa Mountains National Parks…

That ‘omission’ notwithstanding, tourism already plays a pivotal role in Tanzania’s socio-economic development, contributing over 17 per cent of GDP – much of it in foreign currency.

That said, the sector’s already commendable contribution would be boosted many times over if and when Tanzania’s other potential tourist circuits are appropriately-exploited. On June 22 this year, we reported in these pages that the government stated ‘it was set to promote attractions in the southern tourist circuit.’

True to that pledge to Parliament, we’re seeing the light at the end of the long, dark tunnel as the World Bank loans $150 million to Tanzania for a ‘REGROW’ Project that includes upgrading the southern tourist circuit – with Iringa as its hub. For that, we fully commend all those making this possible, including the WB Country Director, Ms Bella Bird, and Tanzanian officials involved.

Although it’s said that ‘the proof of the pudding is in the eating’ – suggesting that one can best judge the quality of something after having tried, used or experienced it – we at The Citizen are able, willing and ready to put our full trust and support behind the movers and shakers of such developmental projects.

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