Ngorongoro’s tourism earnings soar to record Sh176 billion in one year

What you need to know:

  • Unprecedented post-pandemic recovery in the tourism sector has seen the Ngorongoro Conservation Area (NCA) registering a record annual tourism revenue of Sh176 billion in the year ending June 2023

Arusha. Annual tourism earnings for Ngorongoro Conservation Area (NCA) have soared to a record Sh176 billion during the fiscal year ending June 2023, as 752,215 visitors thronged to the world-acclaimed site in the period under review.

“This is the highest number of visitors since NCA was established,” said NCAA Conservation Commissioner, Mr Freddy Manongi. He told journalists here on Monday that the number of foreign tourists visiting the site has lately been on a steep rise.

“During the 2022/23 financial year ending June 2023, we received 752,215 foreign tourists,” he said.

The visitors earned the economy a hefty Sh176.14 “because this was the highest number of tourists ever recorded.”

Dr Manongi hinted that the revenue for the 2023/24 fiscal year may surpass that of 2022/23 given the anticipated sharp increase in visitors.

Between July 1, 2023, and the third week of September, a total of 307,376 foreign and local visitors entered the NCAA. The last group of visitors who were at the NCA to sample various tourism insights earned the conservation agency Sh70.4 billion.

The NCAA boss lauded the government for the support rendered, especially through aggressive marketing of the country’s rich tourist attractions.

The accolades went to President Samia Suluhu Hassan for deliberate measures taken to market the country through the Tanzania Royal Tour film, among others.

The 8,292-square-kilometre conservation area is in the league of the spectacular Serengeti National Park and Mt. Kilimanjaro as the country’s leading tourism hotspots.

The announcement of a record number of visitors and revenue came shortly after the NCAA announced plans to open two more entry gates.

New entry gates will be opened in Engaruka on the northeastern corner of the Ngorongoro and at Lake Eyasi entry to the southwest.

Construction of the Eyasi gate site is almost complete, while the one at Engaruka will be completed in the next financial year.

“We have already installed electronic systems (at Eyasi) for collecting revenue”, said Mr Elibariki Bajuta,the deputy Conservation Commissioner.

NCA currently has one main entry gate on its boundary with Karatu district on the Arusha-Karatu-Ngorongoro highway.

The gate is often overwhelmed with the long lines of vehicles struggling to get into the conservation area, specifically its main attraction, the crater.

Mr Bajuta said the two entry gates will be opened in order to improve services for the surging population of the area.

The planned gate at Engaruka will be located near the abandoned ruins bearing the same name, which have baffled visitors for years.

Engaruka is considered one of the most important Iron Age archaeological sites in Tanzania and is already registered as one of the national historical sites.

Main attractions in the vicinity include the Empakaai and Olmoti craters and Lolmalasin, the third highest peak in Tanzania after Mt Kilimanjaro and Mt Meru.

On the other hand, the Eyasi Gate has its niche. It will connect the NCA with the land of the Hadzabe, one of the last remaining Stone Age cultures in Africa.

The gate is also close to the Ndutu plains, covering both the NCA and Serengeti NP. The site is famous as a breeding area for wildebeests.