Arusha — AS Tanzania strives to double the number of tourists visiting the country by the year 2015, the United Nations maintains that Africa’s share of International Tourists Arrival is just 5.2 per cent.
The Executive Director of the United Nations World Tourism Organization, Mr Frederic Pierret, said that at the moment five million tourists cross borders daily around the world. The number of international tourists, he says, will reach 1.6 billion by the year 2020.
Mr Pierret was speaking at the on-going First Pan-African Conference on “Sustainable Tourism Management in African National Parks and Protected Areas,” which is taking place in the municipality of Arusha.The Executive Director stated that the UNWTO forecasts a growth of 50 per cent in Africa’s tourists arrivals over the next nine years, during which the continent stands to log 134 million travellers per year – a massive increase from the current 50 million visitors.
The Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Tourism, Mr Lazaro Nyalandu, had earlier on revealed that Tanzania projections are to attract 1.6 million tourists by 2015 which should double the current figure of 800,000 visitors per year. Tanzania’s main selling point is the country’s abundant natural resources and wildlife since the country has 16 National Parks, the continent’s highest mountain and the world’s only wildlife packed Volcanic Cratre, the Ngorongoro Crater.
Tanzania Tourist Board (TTB) figures reveal that more than 70 per cent of tourists visiting Tanzania go for game viewing drives in national parks and over 80 per cent of the total number of foreign leisure travellers prefer to sample the attractions found in the Northern Tourism Circuit.
The Northern Zone is home to Mount Kilimanjaro; Africa’s highest peak, Ngorongoro Crater, the legendary Serengeti migrations, Tarangire and Lake Manyara National Parks. The conference delegations will be touring Ngorongoro Crater and Tarangire National Park later this week, to see for themselves how Tanzania is conducting its nature and wildlife conservation in harmony with surrounding communities.
Meanwhile, Vice-President Dr Mohamed Gharib Bilal has called for collective efforts in conserving and protecting local natural resources and wildlife. Opening the first “Pan-African Conference on Sustainable Tourism Management in National Parks and Protected Areas,” here yesterday, Dr Bilal pointed out that it was time for all parties to team up and jointly work to attain the goal.
“In the last three decades, especially during the 1980s, Tanzania experienced increased environmental destruction on both land and water resources with poaching for wildlife products becoming rampant until the government moved in to arrest the situation,” said the Vice-President.
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