Tanzania tourism sector grows despite a myriad challenges

Tuesday August 11 2020

Foreigner tourist and domestics observes

Foreigner tourist and domestics observes hippopotamus at Serengeti National Park as part to celebrate Esters holiday yesterday. PHOTO | ANTHONY MAYUNGA 

By Mussa Juma @TheCitizenTZ news@tz.nationmedia.com

Arusha. The sector of natural resources and tourism is among the sectors that have gained achievements in a period of five years despite a myriad challenges.

The sector contributes almost 17.2 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and 25 percent of all forex revenues.

During the 2015 General Election, every political party had its own manifesto and the tourism sector was one of their priorities of boosting the country’s economy.

Opposition’s pledge

The manifesto of the opposition coalition (Ukawa) during the 2015 polls targeted to increase the number of tourists to two million by 2020.

The opposition coalition, if they were entrusted to lead the country, pledged to implement four things including increasing revenue emanated from tourism and the sale of logs, high quality furniture hence getting sustainable revenue, reducing environmental destruction and protecting the sources of rivers.

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To attain the goals, the opposition coalition spoke of a number of opportunities about the tourism sector including managing the harvesting and use of the national resources for the benefit of every Tanzanian of the current and future generations.

The opposition coalition also spoke of the strategy of combating rustling and strengthening the conservation of the national parks and the environment.

The opposition coalition also targeted to quicken the construction of tourism infrastructures in the country including the construction of tourist hotels and improving training.

The opposition also pledged to enter into international agreements through the United Nations on fighting against rustling in the country’s national parks.

They also planned to increase the number of tourists to two million and find markets in the past five years.

What CCM pledged during the 2015 polls

The ruling CCM party, in its manifesto, pledged to implement a number of things including growing the sector, increasing its revenue, stamping out rustling and strengthening conservationism and its resources.

CCM also pledged to improve infrastructures in conservation areas, create jobs in the tourism sector and attract more investors.

Implementation of CCM’s manifesto

To a great extent CCM has implemented what it pledged despite some challenges that emerged this year due to the Covid-19 outbreak.

Revenues in tourism have increased from $1.9 billion in 2015 to $2.4 billion in 2018 and the number of tourists visiting Tanzania has also gone up from 1.2 million in 2015 to 1.505,702 million in 2018

The Commissioner for the Tanzania National Parks (Tanapa), Mr Allan Kijazi, says there have been great achievements in the tourism sector including an increase in revenues and the number of national parks has increased as well from 16 to 20.

He says four new national parks were created namely Burigi (Chato), Ibanda (Kyerwa), Rumanyika (Karagwe) and the Nyerere National Park.

According to Mr Kijazi, Tanapa has joined the system of providing services of international standards and has a contract of providing quality services to customers.

It has also joined the anti-poaching unit and the number of tourists visiting the national parks has gone up slightly.

Depute Commissioner of the Tanzania Wildlife Management Authority (Tawa) Imani Nkuhi says during the 2015/19 period the protection of wildlife resources in and outside reserved areas was strengthened after involving all stakeholders.

He says Tawa has managed to control poaching, particularly that of elephants and rhinos through different methods.

“For example, elephant carcasses are now rarely seen from 17 carcasses in 2015/16 to 0 in 2018/19,” he says.

According to Mr Nkuhi, the revenues of the National Conservation Area Authority (NCAA) have also risen from Sh60 billion in 2014/15 to 102 billion in 2016/17 and there has been a revenue increase annually.

The Commissioner for the Tanzania Forest Services Agency (TFS), Prof Dos Santos Silayo, says there have been great achievements in the tourism sector, adding that many trees have been planted and that the destruction of forests has been largely controlled.

“The production of honey and beeswax has increased. As TFS, we have managed to provide education on beekeeping in many villages including establishing tree nursery farms,” he says.

Private sector views

The Executive Secretary of Tanzania Association of Tours Operators (Tato), Mr Sirili Akko, says from 2015 there have been great achievements in the tourism sector, despite several challenges including the effects of Covid-19.

According to Mr Akko, the achievements include controlling poaching incidents as in the past it was normal to hear of the consignments of tusks from Tanzania being seized outside the country.

During this period, he says, the protection of the country’s resources, particularly wild animals, has been strengthened as a result of the formation of an anti-poaching force unit.

The retired chairman of the Tanzania Tour Guides Association (TTGA), Mr Khalifa Msangi, says the government has done a good job in the tourism sector within five years despite challenges.

He explains that the big job of promoting tourism outside the country has been well done as there has been a new wave of new tourists from different nations of the world including Israel, China and from several Asian countries.

He adds that great changes have been made in combating poaching and the protection of conservation has been encouraging.

Several challenges that have been addressed include infrastructures within the national parks and bridges as tourists had some problems to get through during the rainy season. The executive eecretary of the Tanzania Porters Organisation (TPO), Loshiye Mollel, says the government has managed to implement the CCM manifesto, despite several changes.

“Cases of defrauding foreign visitors have been greatly reduced as they now come and return to their countries safely after the controlling of crook businessmen,” says Mollel.

Mollel adds that several taxes have also been reduced hence enabling the indigenous to get engaged in the tourism sector as red tape have also been greatly minimized.

Loshiye went further to explain that the harassment of potters and tour guides by public servants has also been controlled.

“There was the problem of porters carrying over 25 kilos of luggage when they scaled Mount Kilimanjaro, but now that problem has substantially been reduced,” he says.

However, the outbreak of Coronavirus this year greatly reduced the number of tourists as it was targeted that 2 million tourists would have visited the country this year.